5 years in the making. Now the time has come. We are making optics great again. And yes, it all started with the idea of creating a simple microscope for studying differentiating macrophages in a cell incubator. Adding additional features back then and the increasing interest from the research community made the UC2 system a global resource for building and understanding arbitrarily complicated optical systems.
In schools, universities and in many scientific institutes it has taught how a lens creates an image, how to build even complex microscopy systems or how to measure biological samples with submicrometer precision in the smallest tree space. From the first day on it was clear to us: the project can only be successful through an open community. By opening the sources, the design files and a large number of instructions on Github and in the form of workshops, the system established itself as a valuable resource for tinkerers and researchers across the globe. But many users faced a big problem: varying quality in 3D printed parts and the lack of sourcing the vast majority of the parts from “low-cost” sources caused lots of suffering – especially for those in universities.
With the foundation of the company openUC2 GmbH in the heart of optics – the city of light Jena – we want to help the movement to a long-term sustainable growth. We are brave and dare to found a company, which holds open-source as an identity.
Our goal: Establish the concept of rapid prototyping in optics and let the microscope mature as an essential tool for an interdisciplinary and diverse science into a ubiquitous standard tool. We are building on Accessible, Available and Open, thus maintaining the core philosophy of the project founded at Leibniz IPHT.
We, the founding team, are looking forward to what lies ahead and have already experienced in the past weeks and months what it means to make an idea that was born in a scientific context fit for scaling on an industrial scale. In the long term, we will rely on the community and thus fuel the global exchange at different levels. We will pose new challenges to ourselves, but above all to you, the users, in order to solve new problems with optics. Stay curious! Be curious!