Openflexure current build is here!

I am delighted to say that we are now able to have the current master development version of Openflexure available, thanks to @r.w.bowman. On large software projects this would be the ‘nightly build’ but the Openflexure code changes more slowly than that.

This is the UNTESTED and NOT STATIC current development version. As with the nightly builds of all projects it is not checked, not necessarily complete, and may change or may be deleted at any time. Please use it with caution.

The released build on the web site is the version that is static, is tested and where we shall try to note any bugs on this forum. It is available from https://openflexure.org/projects/microscope/build. Please use that version if you have any doubt.

How the ‘current build’ works
The current build will include approved versions of changes, including those that are mentioned across the Forum as being in ‘merge requests’. Any merge request that is still open will have a view app button to view the microscope built with those changes. Once a merge request is merged into the master development version those builds are deleted, and the changes are incorporated into what is now available as the ‘current master’ build at https://build.openflexure.org/openflexure-microscope/master/.
If you don’t mind living on the edge then use this current master build. But be aware that it may be broken at any time - active developments can make the project incomplete for a while if there are major changes being implemented in different parts of the microscope. It may also change at any time, so if you do look at the current version and you will need to see exactly that same version again you will need to copy everything yourself.

All that being said, we are actively working from Beta1 towards a full V7.0.0 release at present, so developments in the rest of 2023 are almost all likely to be improvements in the instructions. Edit 16-5-2024: V7.0.0-Beta2 is now released, so this statement about stability in the short term is no-longer appropriate

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Hi William,

Many thanks for your hardwork on this. I am just wondering if ths new build allow other USB cameras to be recognised by the Openflexure software?

I have been studying the threads in this forum to understand how to use an alternaltive usb camera with the delta stage, and still have not got a good clue yet. I am very inexperienced with coding and automation, so sorry for my stupid question.

Many thanks,
Tom

Hi Tom,

The announcement of the “current” build is to allow easy access to the newest developments of the hardware.

The software is also working towards a big new release. Writing new software is quite a complex process. I have not been very involved in the process but my understanding is that the original software was written very much around the Raspberry Pi Camera. The new one will allow for different camera options via plug-ins, but it requires significant changes to the codebase. At the same time we are dealing with a new Raspberry Pi OS, which comes with totally new software libraries and drivers for controlling the camera.

Yesterday the core OpenFlexure team met and approved a number of enhancement proposals. (OFEP3, OFEP4, and OFEP5):
https://ofep.openflexure.org/index.html

3 and 4 specifically set out how the microscope software will control configurations and allow plug-ins. Now this is all agreed, and the final implementation is going ahead. I think soon @r.w.bowman will release a beta version of this software for testing, it may not be feature complete fully feature complete. Once it is out, it will be possible for someone to create a USB camera plug-in and configuration.

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@j.stirling is exactly right, unsurprisingly. This thread is about the hardware only. Software has had a lot of work over the last year, though very little of this has made it into the release: we’ve been doing a ground-up rewrite, and part of that is to implement the OFEPs Julian links to. This does not, out of the box, support USB cameras. However, it changes the architecture of the software in a way that makes this much easier in the future. If your camera is supported by OpenCV, then it’s likely I will write an OpenCV based module at some point, and you’d be able to use the camera in that.

The short answer is that USB cameras are not currently supported in the OpenFlexure software, though it’s possible you could add it to the experimental v3 software. This is not yet packaged or documented well enough for anybody to work on without asking me a lot of questions, but I do intend to change that in the near future. I’ll announce on the forum when that is the case.

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@j.stirling @r.w.bowman Many thanks for your quick response!! Look forward to seeing the new release soon!

The new beta hardware release is now out - software v3 is still in the pipeline though!

https://build.openflexure.org/openflexure-microscope/v7.0.0-beta2/

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