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"Lab-in-a-Pipette". Advancing the design of pipettes

: Domnich, Alexej; Schöning, Sebastian; Bottländer, Dominik; Brix, Jonathan

Association for Laboratory Automation:
LabAutomation 2010. Final Program & Abstracts : Where Science, Technology and Industry Come Together. Palm Springs, California, USA, January 23-27, 2010
St. Charles/Ill., 2010
International Conference on Laboratory Automation (LabAutomation) <2010, Palm Springs/Calif.>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IPA ()
Pipettieren; Meßdatenaustausch; Dosieren; Laboratorium; Meßverfahren

Pipettes are the most versatile and most frequently used handling device in bio-chemical laboratories. Pipettes come in various types and with differing functionality: customers can choose from simple manual pipettes to electronically-driven multi-tip pipettes. However, these pipettes lack the capability to conduct basic measurements, which are very often required in lab environments. For example, measuring the optical density of fluids allows biologists to estimate the growth of cell cultures in solutions -- a characteristics that is frequently assessed. An advanced pipette with integrated measurement functionality can considerably speed up this process.
We developed a modular hand-help pipette that combines basic fluid handling with measurement capabilities. Two modules are currently in development that allow for the measurement of optical densities and cell densities. Furthermore, the pipette is endowed with a sophisticated embedded computer system and a state-of-the art touch screen display. The pipette is used manually, like conventional pipettes, but it can also be deployed to automatically collect experimental data or to guide the user through experiments. The data can be transmitted wirelessly to remote computer systems, thus minimizing relay time and errors in the documentation process.
We obtained first promising results that prove the feasibility of optical-density measurements as a function integrated into handheld-pipettes. Our approach enables technicians to speed up many lab processes and enables further advancements in the design of pipettes.