New software stack for OpenFlexure Microscope

Hi all,

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while now, sorry for not getting round to it sooner! As some of you may have seen at AfricaOSH 2019, we are developing an entirely new software stack for the OpenFlexure Microscope (OFM).

Every part of the new stack has been built from the ground up, so the more people we have on board helping to test things, the better. If anybody here has an existing OFM, or wants to build one (perhaps using the recently launched SangaBoard v3!), then we would really appreciate any feedback on the new software.

We’re centralising basic “getting started” instructions on our website here. In order to simplify installation, we provide a quick-installer script to run on your Raspberry Pi.

Thanks everyone. I’ve included some extra details on the new software below.

All the best,



New features

Application structure

The Raspberry Pi in your microscope will now run a small server application. This server takes simple HTTP requests, which are then used to control the microscope hardware.

In order to actually control your microscope, either locally (on the pi) or remotely (from any other machine networked to the pi), you’ll need to install OpenFlexure eV. This is our new client that provides a proper cross-platform user interface for the microscope.


Bug reports and feature requests
Every part of the OpenFlexure Project is now managed on GitLab (OpenFlexure · GitLab). For bug reports or feature requests, please post on the relevant GitLab project, and we’ll respond as quickly as possible.

Code contributions
The microscope server is written in Python, using Flask as a server framework.
OpenFlexure eV is a Vue.js app, developed using Node.js and packaged with Electron.
Across all projects, new features and bug fixes should be developed on forks of the projects. Please submit merge requests as appropriate.
More information about our contribution guidelines can be found in each projects CONTRIBUTING file.


For those who used the OpenFlexure Microscope that I brought GOSH in Shenzhen, the new software is so much easier to use. You can move around by clicking what you want to centre on the screen, you can focus with the scroll wheel of your mouse. Every feature has a button rather than a magic hotkey. And it can be installed like any normal program, onto your own computer. The stuff that runs on the Raspberry Pi is prebuilt into a customised version of the Raspberry Pi operating system.

We are interested in any feedback you have about installing or using the new software. The best place to ask questions, or give us feedback is on our GitLab because then it will be visible to others having this issues. Oh, and by “we” I mean

  • @jc2450 - who pretty much wrote the whole thing
  • @kaspar - who did a lot of magic to make the pre-built Raspberry Pi operating system
  • @rbowman - who you all know, runs the project, and did quite a bit of the programming
  • Me - Who actually didn’t do much for the software, except leaning over Joel’s shoulder to ask if it does stuff I want yet.

Hi! my name is Jose Zapana and I’m using the Open Flexure microscope right now. I installed the new version of the software a couple of days ago and it was functioning great. However, today it appears that a new version of the ev has arrived and I downloaded it like it was suggesting I do. But I cannot longer use the microscope. An error message appears that the version of the client and the microscope no longer match. How can I update my microscope software? I clicked on the prompt when it appeared today, but apparently it didn’t work.

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Hey! So we pushed out a fairly significant update recently (

The easiest way to fix this is to flash an SD card with a clean copy of Raspbian, and run the installer script again (

As part of this update, we now include a really simple shell command to update the microscope server to the latest version (ofm upgrade), which was not previously included. That’s why it’s probably easiest for now to just create a fresh SD card. From here on out, upgrading will be much easier.

Additionally, I’ll be adding extra information to that warning in a patch release soon™.

If you’d much prefer to do an in-place upgrade, it’s not horrendously difficult (as far as I can remember), so I can go through it if you need.


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