Digital microscopes integrate high quality image sensors, digital cameras, rechargeable batteries, and also has storage options for saving the images. There are various types of digital microscopes such as desktop digital microscope and portable digital microscope. Furthermore, few microscopes have display systems attached and are wireless. Digital microscopes require at least one power source to function. Integration of technologies such as 3D illumination, image sharing functions, and others eliminate the need for purchasing additional instruments. Digital microscopes come under Class 1 medical device listing of the U.S. Food & Drugs Administration (FDA). As these devices do not interfere with the human body functioning in any way, the regulations applicable to the devices is not as stringent as compared to class 2 and class 3 medical devices. European Commission also classifies digital microscopes under the combined nomenclature published in the Official Journal of European Union. Commercially available digital microscopes include DSX Series digital microscopes, ShuttlePix, and Smartzoom 5.
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Advantages offered by digital microscope over conventional microscope and cost effectiveness is expected to boost growth of the digital microscopes market
Digital microscopes are cost effective as compared to conventional optical microscope. The prices depend on the connection type, software used, and quality of the technology. The main advantage is that depending on the nature of the work and image quality required, the user can opt for the necessary microscope, which saves costs, as opposed to using a conventional microscope for all tasks. Furthermore, factors such as ease of use without specific skill set, low set up time, and safe handling of sample without spillage makes digital microscopes an instrument of choice for users. Handheld digital microscopes come with USB connectivity, which makes field studies possible, although, with access to a power source, and avoiding delays in sample processing and analysis. This also helps in overall cost reduction. Various software such as LAS X by Leica Microsystems and SPOT software by Spot Imaging can be integrated with digital microscopes to allow for storage of the images for future reference. Moreover, multiple user profiles can be created in the system, which is not possible with conventional optical microscopy. Different users can switch to their specific profile and with smaller adjustments on the same working system.
Optical microscopes can be converted into digital microscopes by removing the eyepiece and adding an eyepiece camera. The camera used can be a microscope digital camera, Wi-Fi microscope camera, or a tablet camera. This conversion of optical microscope into digital microscope may significantly reduce the number of new buyers for digital microscope, and hence may limit the market growth.
The global digital microscopes market was valued at US$ 216.6 million in 2016 and is expected to witness a robust CAGR of 6.9% over the forecast period (2017–2025).
Figure 1. Global Digital Microscopes Market Value Share ($), by Modality, 2017 and 2025
Source: Coherent Market Insights Analysis (2017)
Continuous product launches from leading players such as Hirox Corporation and Olympus Corporation is expected to drive growth of the digital microscopes market
Leading players such as Keyence Corporation, Olympus Corporation, Nikon Corporation, and Hirox Corporation offer innovative digital microscopes in all categories such as desktop digital microscope, wired, and wireless digital microscope. In 2015, Hirox Corporation expanded its digital microscope portfolio with the launch of its new RH-2000 digital microscope. Also, in 2016, Hirox Corporation launched its new innovative RH-8800 digital microscope. In 2015, Olympus Corporation launched three new models of digital microscope namely: DSX510, DSX510i, and DSX110.
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Manufacturers in Europe such as Optika Italy are offering desktop digital and innovative microscopes as well as portable microscopes, which are wired and wireless. The company has two wireless digital microscopes B-190TB, and B-290TB, whose patents are pending. PreciPoint — a Germany-based manufacturer — also provides custom manufacturing and tailored microscopy systems according to the need of the customer. Europe also has presence of leading players such as Carl Zeiss and Leica Microsystems. North America is expected to exhibit high growth potential in the digital microscopes market, due to presence of major pharmaceutical organizations such as Pfizer and Novartis, which are engaged in research and development of innovative therapies.
Some major players operating in the digital microscopes market include Olympus Corporation, Nikon Corporation, Carl Zeiss AG, Celestron, LLC, Hirox Corporation, Danaher Corporation, Keyence Corporation, and Tagarno A/S.