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MetaMorph® NX Software Custom Measurements

Breaking down the barriers between you and your analysis goals

Not all samples can be meaningfully or accurately assessed with just one standard measurement. Often, you need to combine an array of analysis and processing algorithms to effectively parse sets of images. Setting up such complex analyses is typically a time-consuming, difficult undertaking involving numerous iterations of trial and error until the expected results are achieved. As a result, the task of creating custom analyses is commonly delegated only to researchers who have the relevant programming experience or who are able to devote the time required to learn the intricacies of specialized techniques and tools.


Build custom measurements with no experiencce necessary

Molecular Devices takes the learning curve out of custom analysis development with a much-anticipated customizable extension to its suite of easy-to-use image processing and analysis tools for the MetaMorph NX Software. The Custom Measurement feature is an integrated but separate dedicated workspace that provides guided assistance while you design your own distributable and reusable image processing and analysis modules. With the Custom Measurement feature, you can easily automate multifaceted assays of datasets and be confident that the output is dependably reproducible.

Reduce iteration cycles by creating, adjusting, and viewing the results of your analysis all at the same time

In the Custom Measurement workspace, simply choose from galleries of processing options, arithmetic operations, and morphology filters to construct a sequence of analysis steps on the left side of the workspace. Immediately preview the effect of each step on an image on the right side of the workspace. Adjust settings in any step in the sequence at any time and immediately see the effect of the adjustments on the image. Try out the processing steps and measurements on other images.

Slide your mouse across the image using the innovative Split View to reveal before-and-after previews of the effect of each step on the image, or view before-and-after images side by side. Click on an image in the filmstrip to identify the step that created the image. Click on a step in the analysis sequence to display the image that is created as a result of the step and the steps that led up to it. Know exactly which step in the sequence resulted in a particular effect on the image.

Easily combine pre-processing steps with segmentation and measurements

A typical custom measurement starts with steps for improving image quality so that objects of interest can be clearly defined and measured. You can incorporate a variety of built-in processing filters to extract features, increase the level of detail, and remove unwanted image artifacts. Morphology filters can, among many other things, shrink and grow dark and light objects, smooth light and dark objects simultaneously, detect bright or dark features of a specific spatial size or shape, increase local contrast, detect edges, fill holes, and invert an image. Several methods for thresholding images are also provided, including the Adaptive Background CorrectionTM system. Arithmetic and logical operations are available for combining and dividing images based on intensity values, and for setting conditional criteria for image processing; for example, comparing intensity values of two images to determine which will be included in the analysis.

Once the image quality is optimal, simply click on an object in the image to automatically identify it as the model for segmentation of all objects in the image. If needed, add other steps that identify the location and boundary of each object. Then, filter the objects based on their properties, such as size or intensity. Optionally remove border objects, invert objects, and keep or remove marked objects. You can even indicate that a user should draw regions on an image before using your custom measurement so that the regions will be used as the first segmentation in the sequence of analysis steps.

Not only can you measure the segmented image that results from the entire sequence of steps, you can also specify that segmentations from specific steps be measured, which gives you the ability to measure both objects and features within objects. The measurement results for all of the segmentations that you specify will be collated into one measurement results table.

The measurements that are available for the standard measurement functions are also available for custom measurements, including the area, dimensions, shape, orientation, and intensity of objects and regions, as well as a statistical summary of the measurements made. Custom measurements can also include information from multiple channels, which helps determine if the same object appears in more than one channel.

Save and share

 After you have designed your custom measurement, select a graphic for it from a built-in library of icons. Save the custom measurement and it will be automatically added to the list of standard measurements on the Measure tab. Or, export the custom measurement to a file and distribute it to other researchers. Any time after saving or deploying the custom measurement, import it to modify it or modify it directly from the Measure tab.

Custom measurements can be used like any other standard measurement that is provided with the MetaMorph NX Software. Use the custom measurement to analyze an entire dataset or a subset of the dataset (the images that are displayed in the image grid or images acquired at all time points, stage positions, or Z positions). In the Dataset View, you can arrange images next to tables and graphs to explore how measurements made on some or all of the images relate to the dataset as a whole, to other measurements, and to the visual information in the images. Review measurement results interactively by clicking on a cell in an image and observing the corresponding analysis data or vice versa. When you have sorted your measurement results according to your criteria, export your data to Excel with one click.


 

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