Science is an imperfect process built on experimentation, making efficient work essential for running a successful lab. Using the wrong tools can force even the best scientists to repeat the same experiment or push false discoveries with incorrect results. The latest and greatest technology can keep a laboratory running smoothly and efficiently.
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Tablets and Smartphones
They’re commonly used to play games or call home, but modern mobile devices are gaining widespread laboratory use. A good tablet can efficiently replace clipboards and lab computers at the same time since the computing power installed to handle gaming apps can be re-tooled to track data and solve formulas. There’s even a growing market of mobile apps and accessories for lab use.
Labs often need to mix substances into new compounds during the course of normal operations, making a good stirrer essential for smooth lab operation. More volatile chemicals should be mixed with an air powered stirrer but most can use electric mixers. There’s several types of electric laboratory stirrers, all with different features and levels of mixing power.
Sometimes the lab needs to go on the road. Gas chromatography and mass spectrometry are powerful tools for scientists, but are difficult to perform during necessary field work. “Portable” GC-MS analyzers were bulky and slow to complete analysis even just a few years ago.
(gas-chromatography and mass spectrometry) Modern versions from several manufacturers are far more manageable, making on-site analysis a real possibility.
Big Data systems
Technically it’s software rather than a gadget, but “big data” tracking and analysis has the potential to accelerate discovery and experimentation. Proper algorithms and computer analysis can identify patterns in large data sets far quicker than any human. This especially applies in the biomedical field, where genomics, neuroimaging, and drug testing routinely bog down scientists and computers with vast arrays of information.
While this gadget may not seem new, new models essential for lab work are continually released. Improper cleaning can easily lead to incorrect results, and the cleaning process changes as lab equipment changes. Newer models can even be programmed with different wash cycles for with one touch so scientists can focus on data rather than cleaning cycles.
These five aren’t the only new and improved gadgets available. Keeping up with new gadgets is essential or your lab’s results will fall behind. Be sure to follow manufacturers for updates on new devices.
By Lizzie Weakley