Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) is emerging as the preferred method to determine 3D protein structures in biomedical research and drug discovery. The method’s importance was acknowledged with the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The method requires that proteins be frozen in a thin film of water before imaging. Current technology for preparing these thin ice samples is associated with an array of problems that prevent cryo-EM from realizing its full potential. The Cryo-cell device addresses this technological bottleneck, thus reducing the cost of cryo-EM, lowering the barrier to entry, and thereby broadening the cryo-EM market. Prototype testing has shown the viability of the core technology, and we anticipate that the mature incarnation of the device will help breach current problems in cryo-EM and open new scientific and commercial opportunities.