Bliss System

BLISS System (~ 1994)

The BLISS (Bacus Laboratories, Inc. Slide Scanner) System was the first virtual microscopy scanner. It was sold worldwide by Bacus Laboratories in the 1990's and 2000's, and is now sold by Olympus America in the U.S.

Virtual microscopy enables viewing of microscope slides on a computer screen over a network, and except for the differences imposed by the digital modality versus microscope mechanics and glass optics, provides a similar visual experience.  Equivalent optical resolution and visual magnification is maintained, as well as scanning, zooming (change of magnification), and focus.  From a technical perspective, this requires capturing and storing, on a network server, an image data structure composed of a large number (in some cases thousands) of high resolution digital images. Upon viewing over a network the data structure of images is displayed abutted to one another, within the limits of the viewing screen area, and depending on the magnification desired by the viewer. The virtual slide above illustrates this viewing technology, where the actual image data structure is stored on a remote server.

This technology completely changed medical student teaching of histology and introductory pathology.  For example, see the experience of Weill Cornell Medical College in QATAR, or George Washington University Medical Center. Prior to the introduction of virtual microscopy collections of glass slides were used, with individual student microscopes.  Because of the number of students per class, this required extensive collections, e.g. 100 slides for each student. These were usually of animal origin and not human and were often faded and of poor quality.  With virtual microscopy all students can see the same high quality specimen, annotation is available on the virtual slide and testing procedures are more uniform.