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Saturna Imaging System

Rapid Physical Analysis of Visible Microplastics

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Portable Automated Technology


Comprehensive Microplastics Data

To understand how microplastics break down, move through the oceans and freshwater systems and collect on coastlines, researchers and community monitoring groups must be able to quantify a robust set of particle size parameters. Saturna is a portable, standardized imaging and illumination device that plugs in to your computer and syncs with a standalone analysis web application to rapidly characterize and quantify visible microplastic particles.
Saturna Analysis App

Rapid, Standardized and Smart

Saturna saves hours of time and reduces human error by automatically collecting a robust set of size, colour and categorical metrics for visible microplastic samples (>400μm) like those collected from manta trawls, Neuston nets, beach quadrat samples, ingestion and community studies.
  • Isolate particles larger than 400μm using common collection protocols (e.g. net tows, community-based beach quadrat surveys)
  • Place collected particles on included background sheet beside our standardized QR code sizing reference
  • Place Saturna and included light-blocking shroud over top of the particles to block out external light
  • Collect a standardized particle image through the standalone web analysis application (included with Saturna)
  • Receive real-time sample image with size analysis and colour mapping created with proprietary image analysis software developed in-house
  • Level of classification: proprietary analysis algorithms analyze visible microplastic particles (>400µm) for physical characteristics, including 13 size and colour metrics
  • Highly standardized built-in LED lighting system provides consistent and reproducible lighting for your microplastic samples 
  • Compatible with any Windows PC and operated using our standalone analysis application
  • Provides physical size and colour data for all microplastic particles imaged
  • Computer pattern recognition and sizing algorithms calculate 13 discrete size calculations for every particle  
  • Predictive colour models calculate repeatable and standardized average colour calculations for each particle
  • Saturna's standalone web analysis application rapidly calculates 13 size, shape and colour parameters for every particle imaged. Application features include the following:

    • On or offline use with Chrome Apps
    • Persistent user configuration settings
    • Region of Interest (ROI) selection
    • Particle size threshold filtering
    • Data references for each parameter
    • Histograms for each parameter
    • Meta data tagging
    • Sortable data tables 
    • Download data to .CSV file in one click 
    • Upgraded analysis documentation

    The application is only compatible with the Saturna Imaging System.

  • The data below is provided for every particle imaged:
    • Maximum Width (mm) 
    • 2D Surface Area (mm2)  
    • Convex Surface Area (mm2)  
    • Perimeter (mm)  
    • Convex Perimeter (mm)  
    • Circular Equivalent Diameter (CED)
    • Bounding Box Width (mm)  
    • Bounding Box Height (mm)  
    • Aspect Ratio  
    • Circularity  
    • Solidity  
    • Average HSV Colour Value  
    • Average BGR Colour Value 
  • Use to collect high quality physical data for visible particles larger than 400μm in size
  • Integrated 8MP Sony IMX179 CMOS Imaging sensor provides high resolution data
  • Integrated ~4000k neutral white LED array and light-blocking shroud provide highly standardized microplastics images with consistent lighting for comparative size and colour analysis across time, location and external lighting conditions
  • Included QR Code background sheet provides accurate particle sizing reference for physical analysis computer vision algorithms
  • Use Saturna through our standalone application with any Windows PC
  • Waterproof hard case included for easy transport into the field (26cm x 20cm x 12cm)
  • Desktop or laptop with USB type A port
  • Windows 10 operating system
  • Broadband internet connection

Saturna Case Studies

Seabird beside a pile of microplastics recovered from its stomach

University of Tasmania processes contents from over 500 seabird stomachs with Saturna

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Community scientists study microplastics on BC beach

Community scientists in Victoria use Saturna to generate region's largest microplastics data set

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Community Science toolkit and Saturna set up on a beach

Prince Rupert community scientists use Saturna to help link industry-related activities to local microplastic pollution

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Community scientists sample coastal BC beach for microplastics

qathet community uses Saturna to uncover regional microplastic pollution sources


Customer Testimonials


"I never imagined there could be something like this that would make life easier for researchers.”




Fernanda Landim

Masters Student, University of Tasmania

“From a scientific perspective, Saturna helps give us so much information – it helps standardize. We can easily click through images and identify items in the seabirds, which is important for policy.” 



Dr. Peter Puskic

University of Tasmania

Additional Saturna Products

Saturna can be used on its own as a research tool or as part of our community science and education toolkits.

Contact Us

Tell us about your project and learn how we can help you to advance your microplastics research.