As technology continues its relentless march forward, laboratories across various fields are experiencing a transformative shift toward automation. Automation can be a game changer for laboratories. It can assist lab workers with meeting complex challenges and becoming more efficient.
Automation has quickly become a tangible reality for laboratories around the globe that use cutting-edge tools and techniques to streamline operations, increase efficiency, and ensure accurate results. In fact, statistics show that more than 4,000 labs worldwide have now installed automated systems.
In this blog post, we take a look at five crucial lab processes that can be automated in 2023 and their profound influence on shaping research and innovation in the coming decades.
Cell cultures are an important part of biological research and drug discovery, and they’re also one of the most common processes that can be automated.
Manually manipulating cells is a tedious, repetitive, and error-prone process. Since the complexity of cell manipulation has increased in recent years, as has throughput, it is becoming increasingly difficult to perform at the scales required by modern laboratories.
Automating the feeding of cells and passing them on can reduce the time needed to perform the daily tasks in cell culture and eliminate the variations caused by human error or different operators.
Gone are the days of labor-intensive and error-prone manual cell culture procedures. For instance, with single cell dispensers, researchers can now achieve unparalleled levels of control over cell manipulation, reducing the risk of contamination and enhancing reproducibility. This technological advancement holds immense potential for various fields, from advancing our understanding of cell biology to accelerating drug discovery and personalized medicine.
By automating the delicate task of dispensing single cells, these devices empower scientists to embark on ambitious research endeavors that were previously hindered by limitations in precision and throughput. As single-cell dispensers continue to evolve, they are poised to reshape the landscape of cell culture, propelling scientific innovation to new horizons.
The biobanking process has gained importance in recent years due to the increased quality standards for biological samples used in biomedical and other research areas.
Pre-analytical samples should be collected, prepared, and stored under quality-assured conditions to meet increasing demands for samples. It is therefore imperative that more samples be acquired and prepared to ensure their highest possible quality.
Automation is the ideal solution to guarantee repeatable quality standards and ensure samples meet standardization.
Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA), also known as enzyme immunoassay, is a plate-based assay technique that allows lab workers to detect and quantitate soluble substances, such as antibodies and proteins. ELISA involves reagent dispensing and microplate washing. Incubation and measurement of absorbance are also part of the process.
The majority of traditional instruments that automate ELISA processes were originally designed for large hospitals to analyze immunoassays. These instruments are bulky and expensive, and they can be used to perform many different tests every day.
ELISA equipment has become smaller and cheaper as lab automation technology has improved, and innovation in this area will continue for many years to come.
Since its debut in 2009, next-generation sequencing (NGS) has revolutionized genomics. Entire genomes can now be sequenced more quickly than ever. Many manual, repetitive steps, such as data analysis and sample preparation, can be time-consuming and susceptible to human error.
Many of these issues can be addressed by lab automation technologies such as automated liquid handling and barcode labelers. They also increase precision because they eliminate variability and errors in the samples.
Decapping and Recapping
As the scientific community embraces the era of automation in 2023, a growing number of laboratory processes are undergoing remarkable transformations to enhance precision and efficiency. Among these, decapping and recapping procedures stand out as prime candidates for automation. Traditionally, these tasks have demanded considerable time and attention from lab personnel, often leading to bottlenecks and the risk of human error.
However, with the integration of advanced robotics and intelligent systems, the process of decapping and recapping sample containers is becoming increasingly streamlined. Automated systems can swiftly and accurately handle a large volume of sample tubes, ensuring consistent and aseptic decapping and recapping.
By relieving researchers of these routine yet critical tasks, automation not only minimizes the potential for contamination but also liberates valuable human resources for more intellectually demanding scientific pursuits. This shift in approach marks a significant stride toward optimizing laboratory workflows, promoting data integrity, and ultimately accelerating the pace of scientific discovery.
From the precision of single-cell dispensers to the seamless handling of decapping and recapping, these advancements are revolutionizing research workflows. As we navigate this technological frontier, it’s clear that automation isn’t merely a trend but a transformative force propelling us toward greater accuracy, reproducibility, and efficiency.
Automating lab processes empowers researchers to unravel the complexities of science, ultimately helping us gain a better understanding of biology, medicine, and beyond. With each robotic interaction, we take a step closer to a future defined by innovation and discovery.