Is Lab Automation becoming less complicated?

Most of us have seen the growth over the past few decades.  Bigger, better and more expensive equipment has become more and more popular.  Large integrations.  Large LIMS systems.  Big data.  Big inner-company automation groups. 

Before founding Click Bio my assumption has been bigger is better for a long time.  Recently while in a lab in San Francisco I kicked up a conversation about a low cost automated platform.  Open Trons http://opentrons.com/ came up in conversations.  If I heard correctly, $3,000 for a 1 channel robot, $4,000 for a 2 arm robot with 1 & 8 channels.  Open source software, online configuration, looks to have ~15 deck positions.  I was impressed.

What does that mean?  Swimming in the other direction from the large robot companies can really shake things up.  No integrations, no LIMS, no big data, no automation teams....  every one could in theory have their own little robot.  It is cheap.  It looks easy.  

My coworker and I brought up a major benefit, you now longer need to be running a large application to have tracking and verification for your liquid transfers.  Every plate, tip and liquid can be addressed by your own personal robot.  

Does it work?  Does it work well?  Will it catch on?  What do you think? I am excited to find out.

 

Mykle Gaynor

Click Bio, 800 S Rock Blvd, Reno, NV, 89502, United States