Contractile measurments on a smaller scale

Look for us at the Biophysical Society 2015 annual meeting where we will have the newest muscle physiology equipment setup. You can see the Cell Tester setup with an optical sarcomere spacing system, as well as the Biofluorometer. We would love to show you the newest attachment techniques that scientists around the world are experimenting with.

Optical Sarcomere Spacing

The SI-H Optical Sarcomere Spacing System for the Cell Tester includes a high speed microscope camera, the software necessary to measure and monitor the changing images and record data. The microscope camera, with a maximum rate of 400 fps, mounts on your inverted microscope above the Cell Tester . The video images of the cell are fed into the software for analysis. The software is based on the open source, freeware “μManager” from NIH. A custom plug-in allows the software to monitor sarcomere length (in microns).

  • Measure sarcomere spacing with micron accuracy
  • Sarcomere calculations of 400Hz in the region of interest
  • Measure tetanus in a single cell
  • Record analog signal proportional  to sarcomere length, and  muscle parameters like force
  • Software based on the NIH open-source μManager

Cell Tester

This mechano-transduction platform allows you to mount cells as small as 6μm. The Cell Tester is the product of over five years of design and field testing. It represents a blending of state-of-the-art technologies, including electronics, mechanics and optics. The end result is a revolutionary new research tool for cellular investigation.

All living systems can be studied from several perspectives. We can examine the entire organism or a specific organ system. We can characterize a single organ in a system or a type of tissue in an organ or the cells that make up that tissue. To completely understand any system, all of these perspectives must be considered. Often, entirely different systems are needed in a parallel experimental paradigm. The Cell Tester accomplishes this on one platform.

The Cell Tester can, without any changes, be used for one single living cell, for a small multi-cellular preparation and for single or larger skinned muscle strip preparations. Translational experiments from the single living cells to the intact multi-cellular level can be accomplished. For example, using the Cell Tester, the influence of the connective tissue on muscle function can be distinguished from the clean muscle work for the first time. Conversely, skinning allows a direct comparison between the living cell response and a cell, whereby the subcellular contractile proteins are studied with full experimental access to cell signalling and cellular biochemistry.

The Cell Tester provides researchers with the comprehensive ability to investigate and characterize the physiological, bio-mechanical and bio-physical properties of single isolated living cells and extend these findings to the sub- and multi-cellular level.

  • Integral microtweezer apparatus  facilitates cellular attachment
  • Two integrated piezo manipulators are standard
  • Unique rotational stage–easy cellular alignment, improved experimental throughput
  • Ultra-quiet force transducer included
  • Linear displacement motor stretches or compresses cells with 25nm precision
  • Fits ANY inverted microscope
  • Use native cuvette or ANY 35mm glass bottom dish


The new SI-BF-100 is an LED-based fluorometer for life science applications. It is predominantly used in one of two ways:

  • Stand-alone for probe-based applications
  • Connected to a microscope for fluorescence imaging

It is ideally suited for ratiometric calcium detection (FURA-2) and ATPase detection (via NADH fluorescence). With up to seven LED modules (wavelengths), the SI-BF-100 covers many fluorometric applications in neuroscience and cell biology.

Recent advancements in optics and LED technology simplify ratiometric calcium imaging, making this equipment more affordable. A breakthrough in WPI patented technology allows the SI-BF-100 to use wavelengths below 380nm and produce more light intensity at those lower wavelengths. This technology significantly cuts the cost of photometric calcium imaging  without sacrificing resolution or quality.

  • LED light sources require less power, give off less heat and are more compact and affordable
  • Sampling rates up to 1kHz (1,000 ratios/s max.). At lower speeds, signal averaging is used for noise reduction.
  • The warm up time of less than one minute is a dramatic improvement over the common 20–60 minutes required by xenon or mercury light sources
  • Two auto ranging photomultiplier inputs for monitoring multiple wavelengths from a single emission output that can be comprised of any wavelength of light for which an LED module is available
  • Using a separate reference channel, ultra-stable, continuous ratio calculations automatically compensate for LED intensity drift–less noise and more accurate measurements
  • Application-specific probes available for existing tissue baths and cuvette systems
  • Ratio noise is <0.05 peak to peak; drift is less than 0.1 unit/hour
  • Replace the emission filter easily or change the LED modules to transform the SI-BF-100 into a general purpose fluorometer for many other applications
  • Can accept external light source for use of specific wavelengths or intensities
  • BNC analog outputs (±10V) relate to the emission intensities for both the individual channels and a ratio

Got questions? Give us a call Toll-Free in the USA at 866.606.1974 or email us at wpi@wpiinc.comBetter yet, stop by booth 236 at Biophysics. We'd love to talk about your research.

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