Lab robot demonstrates mastery of culturing and other tasks

Lab work is a pretty good job. But sometimes being around hazardous samples, or completing tedious and repetitive tasks leave scientists looking for a different way. This robot seems to know its way around a lab. The folks behind it claim it’s more precise than veteran lab technicians, and that it can complete the tasks in half the time.

After watching the video (embedded after the jump) we’re quite impressed. The dexterity shown by the system illustrates care down to the tiniest of details. This is because everything the robot works with has been passed through a 3D scanner in order to establish a virtual model. This way the training is done in the computer. The robot can be run though any number of scenarios before it actually starts working with infectious materials like the influenza virus and other not-so-nice microbes.

What we’d really like to know is what kind of visual feedback system is being used.

[via Technabob and Geek]

Comments

  1. Robot says:

    Who needs real robots when you’ve got grad. students?

  2. Frank C says:

    Most expensive robot bartender ever. Bitchin.

  3. Rich says:

    About 6 yr ago a buddy of mine lost a whole batch of his fruit flies in his lab because some tech decided not to show up and feed them one weekend evening. Lot of $$ and lost time in his experiments. So he built a simple feeding robot out of some junk he found on the loading dock, and a little controller. Then he fired her ass and replaced her with a dumb little robot.

    Then he needed some other stuff so he built a little CNC machine kit, and CNCed a Harbor Freight mill to make stuff. He got me going on it all then, and started doing this stuff. Now he has EE and CS grad students building all kinds of lab robots to do the drudge work.

  4. Tim H says:

    Too slow. Turn the speed on that thing up to 11! :-)

    • Whatnot says:

      Well when compared to that NASA humanoid robot it’s already 100 times faster (we don’t get that NASA, fix that already).
      But this thing is designed to use the equipment humans use so it’s universal, and I guess with that and since it’s dealing with liquids and biological samples that might be sensitive and such I guess you need to have a limit on the speed to avoid spills and breakage and unwanted reactions of the samples to the g-forces..

  5. steven says:

    I work for this company!
    But I do high horsepower motors and motor controllers for oil industry.

  6. snowdruid says:

    as a lab tech myself im not convince about the speed the manipulation he does on the video seems quite slow… but i see a big advantage where infectious material or (rt)pcr is in play. avoiding infection of the workers and cross contamination of the sample is allways a big problem….

    • Whatnot says:

      I had the same thought when they said it was faster than an experienced human, it doesn’t look like that on the video, but I guess it makes up in some slow actions by being more precise and faster in placing objects? Anyway I don’t buy it’s twice as fast even with that.

  7. Whatnot says:

    It’s a nice robot, and that video also has a nice font for the subtitles, and nice clear lighting.

    I wonder though why it says ‘no cameras’ on the window, I can get it might get confused from flashes or something but then it should say no flash instead of no camera, like they do in museums.

  8. Eugene says:

    The lab bench would be a real problem in a biology lab for decontamination with all the mounting holes. A robot like this would be good for repetitive tasks in a general purpose environment as long as the environment does not change.

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