For an active blog on the science and technology of live cell analysis, visit the Dynamic Cell Blog:
The Science and Technology of the Living, Dynamic Cell
Discussing the research, products, and impacts of the advancing field of dynamic cell analysis
Live cell imaging systems are typically based on fluorescence or confocal microscopes with an inverted optics plan where the cultures are imaged from below. Inverted microscopes allow an environmental control box to be built onto the platform, partially enclosing the microscope but allowing access to the oculars, light source and cameras. Many live imaging microscope systems also benefit from autofocus capabilities that assist in imaging through cell monolayers as well as 3D cell and tissue cultures. In addition, since the idea of live cell imaging is to capture information on dynamic cell behavior, microscope automation allows better imaging and recording of time lapse events.
For a great resource on live cell imaging requirements, visit microscopy university http://www.microscopyu.com/articles/livecellimaging/index.html