For all the good it brings, you won’t see automation in every laboratory. Why? Too many scientists still believe that automation is out of reach for them: too costly, too complicated, too large and unwieldy, and, believe it or not — overkill for what they’re doing.
As with any new tool, automation will come with growing pains derived from researchers simply not understanding how it works, the diverse lab processes it can be used for, or what capabilities are actually available right now. Opentrons, a leader in open source automation tools and protocols, wants to change this. In a new e-book, they discuss all things automation, dispelling the most common myths, making recommendations on how to choose workflows, cash considerations, and much more.
Following is the first chapter of Opentrons’ ebook. You can download the whole ebook here.
“Repetitio est mater studiorum,” says the Latin proverb: “Repetition is the mother of all learning.” Scientists live this ancient saying every day, winning hard-earned discoveries by repeating the same process over and over. In some cases, this simply builds a large enough sample size to create statistical significance in the results. In other circumstances, researchers subject different samples to the same procedure or similar samples to different conditions. All of these techniques include a common factor—repetition. To a life scientist holding a pipette and sitting in front of a pile of multiwell plates, the word repetition really hits home. Repetitive processes can be the most painful part of a workflow—but they are also, thankfully, ideal processes to automate. Many researchers like you have dreamed about automation while pipetting hundreds of samples, but believe it is too complicated, too costly, or too high throughput to have in their lab.
That simply isn’t true.
This e-book debunks these and other myths of lab automation (see “Figure 1: Busting the Top 5
Automation Myths”), and shows that robots can be a great help for the majority of wetlabs. If you want to explore the idea of automating some repetitive processes in your lab, this e-book will help guide you toward figuring out if automation is right for you. If you’re curious about automating liquid handling, use this ebook as a resource to help you walk through every step and learn more about this technology. You can start by learning about the sorts of workflows
that really benefit from automated liquid handling (and those that don’t), and then explore a wide
range of capabilities that should be considered when choosing the right robot for your lab.
A liquid-handling robot’s range of technical capabilities must meet the variety of ways that scientists use them. In Lab Manager’s “2017 Automated Liquid Handling Survey Results,” the top uses included serial dilution, plate replication and PCR setup, as well as plate reformatting,
high-throughput screening and whole-genome amplification. Nearly 30% of respondents purchasing an automated system are first-time buyers, but that number is on the low side: at Opentrons, for example, nearly 70% of our customers are new to automation. Automation is more accessible than ever and many labs are adding robotics for the first time — and you
can too! All you need to do is learn some basics and you’re off to the races. That’s why we created this guide.
This is the first chapter of Opentrons’ ebook. You can download the whole ebook here.
Kristin Ellis, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Opentrons, and Will Canine, Co-founder and CPO, will be speaking at SynBioBeta 2019, October 1-3 in San Francisco. Register now!4