Ultra detailed photo of barnacle

Rich Gibson of the Gigapan project stopped by the Make offices today and showed me some of the cool super high res photos he's got online. The barnacle is mind blowing. Be sure to view the full image at GigaPan.org

This barnacle Nano Gigapan is really cool. Take your time, really zoom in and explore this one. The barnacle was found washed up on the back of a crab shell at Mendocino's big river beach. In this Nano Gigapan you can see the crab shell around the base of the barnacle.

This image is composed of 384 pictures taken with a scanning electron microscope, which took me around 5-6 hours to capture. The barnacle is magnified 800x.
The penny is really neat, too. Rich said he will soon write a post explaining how he takes these photos.

Nano Gigapan Blog


  1. Really amazing resolution!

    Aside: I certainly wouldn’t want something like this attached to my dingy.

    *rim shot*

  2. Jay Longson http://jaylongson.com/ and his girlfriend Molly Gibson (Rich’s daughter) are the clever kids behind this project. Jay took the nanogigapan of the penny, and engineered the setup to take these amazingly detailed images.


  3. OK, so look at the fissure on the smaller inner part of the barnacle. See the darker section just above it? Zoom in, almost all the way to the right… See the little oval thing? Zoom in on that. Looks like a distorted grid of some sort… What is that?

  4. I think it was manufactured. Look. Finest quality. Superior workmanship. There is a maker’s serial number 9906947-XB71. Interesting. Not fish. Barnacle.

    Try Abdul bin Hassan, he make the barnacle!

  5. @Eyemyth,
    Those are the shells of phytoplankton called diatoms, referred to as “Frustules”. I scrolled around for a bit and saw TONS of them on the shell, which is really awesome. There are pen-shaped (“pennate”) and cyindrical (“Centric”) diatoms, some of which link together in chains. Barnacles are filter-feeders, so these are the kind of things they’d normally be eating. Sooooo awesome! :)

  6. There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about with scopes.

  7. This somewhat depresses me because I am a bivalve who was reincarnated into the inferior shell of a human. Recently, a gent took high-res, panned photos of his town in England and it was featured on B3Ta. Those images were much better than this. You could read the signature off a painting seen through a bedroom window a 1/4 of a mile away. This exposé of my former life was not nearly detailed enough and ultimately disappointing. Thanks for the nostalgic moment, though.

  8. Oh, wow! Hundreds of photos stitched together. And a free website with app to display it. I’ll just use my digital camera, snap hundreds of photos, stitch them together, and upload them. Looking at their website, they want you to buy a panning mechanism, $349 or $449. You just attach your camera to it and off it goes.

    Clearly, this is not how this microscope photos are being created. It’s also clear that many of the demo photos on the site are not created using the panning mechanism they’re actually selling. The photos contains people, who tend to move while your camera is panning, and snapping the other frames. Makes it impossible to join back together.

  9. @dainel
    One of the nice things about the gigapan site is that they don’t care where how you make the panorama. There are a lot of pan/tilt heads out there and a number of different ways to stitch the data together. I shoot a lot of panoramas by hand and stitch them with Autopano. Other ones I shoot with the gigapan, and others I use our own timelapse gigapixel system. The gigapan uploader program will cut any jpg you give it and as long as it is over 50MP you can upload a panorama to your site. It doesn’t have to be taken with the gigapan system.

  10. The GP heads are kind of neat, and relatively inexpensive for that sort of thing. Another option I was considering is a used pan/tilt telescope mount, though it would take me a while to figure out how to stitch the images together.

    Someone from GP visited out Hack Pittsburgh group while I was making coffee, which can be seen in GP’s archives.

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