Laboratory Automation Robots

Living in Canada I don't get to the Desert very often. I have always been under the impression it doesn't rain there very often. So on my first trip to the desert what does it do? Rain, the whole weekend. I was in Palm Springs attending a conference, which was a bit different for me. I have been to many conferences in my time; however I normally attend developer conferences like Microsoft's PDC and Tech Ed, DevTeach and in the past Client Server World. This time it was Lab Automation 2008.

I was there to help one of our clients, Thermo Fisher Scientific. Thermo is showing off some new software that allows its users to define and execute an automated Laboratory. Thermo is a leader in this space, and this is the next generation of their Lab Automation Systems named Momentum. I have wanted to Blog about this project for some time now but couldn't say anything until the show made it public. Now that the show has taken place, and the world knows how cool Momentum is, I can talk about it. J

I have worked on some cool projects in my 25 years of software development; this is definitely in the top 5. Thermo has built a Software Factory that allows their clients to create laboratory automation systems that can be configured to execute experiments using any vendor's instrument. In the world of Lab Automation there are hundreds of instruments that perform various tasks, from changing a plate's orientation to filling it with a compound. For the Lab Automation conference we created a demo that helps illustrate what Momentum can do. I took a short video before I left for home. In the video below you see three robots that are executing a process which is moving a plate from one location to another. Then when an conference attendee drops their plate into the shoot a bar code reader detects the plate and instructs momentum to add another process to the run which returns the attendees plate along with a plate containing a prize. How cool are Robots!