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Published July 17, 2015 | Published
Journal Article Open

Counting White Blood Cells from a Blood Smear Using Fourier Ptychographic Microscopy


White blood cell (WBC) count is a valuable metric for assisting with diagnosis or prognosis of various diseases such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or infection. Counting WBCs can be done either manually or automatically. Automatic methods are capable of counting a large number of cells to give a statistically more accurate reading of the WBC count of a sample, but the specialized equipment tends to be expensive. Manual methods are inexpensive since they only involve a conventional light microscope setup. However, it is more laborious and error-prone because the small field-of-view (FOV) of the microscope necessitates mechanical scanning of a specimen for counting an adequate number of WBCs. Here, we investigate the use of Fourier ptychographic microscopy (FPM) to bypass these issues of the manual methods. With a 2x objective, FPM can provide a FOV of 120 mm^2 with enhanced resolution comparable to that of a 20x objective, which is adequate for non-differentially counting WBCs in just one FOV. A specialist was able to count the WBCs in FPM images with 100% accuracy compared to the count as determined from conventional microscope images. An automatic counting algorithm was also developed to identify WBCs from FPM's captured images with 95% accuracy, paving the way for a cost-effective WBC counting setup with the advantages of both the automatic and manual counting methods.

Additional Information

© 2015 Chung et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Received: November 2, 2014; Accepted: June 28, 2015; Published: July 17, 2015. This work was supported by NIH grant 1DP2OD007307; 2014 Caltech Innovation Initiative (CI2) Program. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Author Contributions: Conceived and designed the experiments: JC XO CY. Performed the experiments: JC XO RPK. Analyzed the data: JC RPK. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: XO. Wrote the paper: JC. Data Availability: All relevant data are within the paper. Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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August 20, 2023
August 20, 2023