Whole Slide Imaging Hardware, Software, and Infrastructure


Whole slide imaging is the process of digitizing a glass slide into a single file, high magnification virtual image object, or whole slide image (WSI). This process requires the use of slide scanners and specialized WSI devices that automate the image capture process. While slide scanners trace their roots to automated robotic microscopes developed in the mid-1990s, today they are purpose-built devices designed to produce high-quality WSIs with minimal human intervention. While commercial slide scanners have many similarities, it is important to recognize their various components in order to be able to evaluate their fitness for an intended use case. Scanners vary in many hardware capacities, including slide capacity, slide loading/handling, scan speed, slide throughput, optics, and image modalities supported. Adding additional hardware (workstations and displays) and software components (viewer, image management system) to a slide scanner results in the formation of a whole slide imaging system. Further, information technology, including networking and storage infrastructures, plays an important role when implementing WSI systems. Overall, it is important to understand how each of the different hardware, software, and infrastructure components of a whole slide imaging system interacts prior to adopting this technology.

Whole Slide Imaging
Toby C. Cornish
Toby C. Cornish
Professor of Pathology and Biomedical Informatics

Clinical informaticist, gastrointestinal pathologist, and researcher.