As people become increasingly dependent on technology, robotics and laboratory automation are helping researchers become more productive. The use of automation continues to evolve in 2014 and promises to offer additional solutions for laboratory researchers in 2015.

Teaching Robotics to Students

Robotics is a growing field that promises to offer job opportunities in the future. Elementary schools and middle schools across the United States participate in theLEGO robotics education program. Now LEGO has expanded beyond the blocks people recall from childhood. Advanced concepts help youngsters learn math and even create their own robotic devices through programs such as LEGO Mindstorm. Students compete with other schools to see which projects have the most promise in the future.

Recently Billerica Memorial High School opened two new project-based laboratories. One is dedicated to engineering and robotics and the other is to biotechnology. The Boston Globe reports superintendent Timothy Piwowar the labs will provide “an opportunity for our students to do authentic scientific work that will prepare them for the next phase of their lives.”

Laboratory Automation in Action

From microplate handling to liquid handling, laboratory automation is handling routine tasks once performed by lab researchers. Ultimately, robotics are helping to save time and money while boosting productivity. According to Entrepreneur Resources, Hudson Robotics has developed microplate handling robotics that can move SBS-footprint plates. This minimizes the risk of human error. These innovative robotics are also designed to be compatible with third-party instruments.

The discoveries will continue into 2015. Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Newsreports Hudson Robotics, along with Johns Hopkins University, recently received an NIH grant to develop a high-throughput screening (HTS) system for in vivo studies of zebrafish. The grant will be used to create a completely automated system for commercial purposes to use as a primary screening method. This will reduce the need for in vitro HTS assays for many diseases and conditions.

The days of thinking of the television show “The Jetsons,” are over when it comes to robotics. While they might not resemble Rosie the made, robotics are being integrated into laboratories across the nation. Regular people are even starting to use robotic technologies to vacuum their rugs and clean their floors, which devices such as Roomba landing on Christmas wish lists. The evolution of robotics and laboratory automation in 2015 promises to be innovative and exciting.