• What is the Lab of the Future?


What is the Lab of the Future?

Aug 03 2022

From wearable technology to robotics, the Lab of the Future is a collective term for a set of technologies that will transform how scientific facilities operate. It doesn’t refer to a single solution, but a group of tech-driven innovations that will reimagine how labs extract, analyse and manage data, as well as carry out other core activities.

Unlocking innovation in the Lab of the Future

The latest data suggests that in labs, a huge 70% of staff time is spent carrying out administrative tasks, completing preparation work, locating and cleaning data and reporting. This staggering statistic confirms there is very little time left for data analysis and innovation.

In the Lab of the Future, tasks like manually extracting data from instruments and entering it into a spreadsheet no longer exist. Similarly, combing though spreadsheets to locate data is also defunct. Instead, the Lab of the Future uses intelligent systems to automate these processes and accelerate workflows.

Key innovations

There are currently seven key innovations set to appear in the Lab of the Future.

  • Connectivity

Technologies designed to improve connectivity will make it easy for staff to access and share information in the Lab of the Future. Intelligent Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) are at the heart of this innovation. Electronic Laboratory Notebooks (ELN) also have an important role to play. As well as helping labs reduce reliance on paper and reduce their environmental footprint, ELNs eliminate transcription errors, improve data availability, heighten security and make it easier to comply with audit requests.

  • Unlimited data

Cloud-based storage has unlocked a new era of efficiency for LIMS and ELN. Online platforms can store huge amounts of data, which can then be accessed by laboratory personnel instantaneously.  

  • The internet of things

The internet of things (IoT) will drastically improve connectivity between different instruments and systems within the Lab of the Future.

  • Strategic lab design

The Lab of the Future will swap traditional layouts for co-working spaces that support teamwork and collaboration.  

  • Artificial intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) algorithms will be integral to the Lab of the Future.

  • Advanced automation and robotics

The Lab of the Future will take automation and robotics one step further with technologies that fuse these two areas to unlock high-quality data. The integration of automation and robotics will also streamline the handling of samples, chemicals and reagents. This will free up time for scientists and allow them to focus on their area of expertise, instead of manual and monotonous tasks.

  • Wearable technology

From Virtual Reality (VR) headsets to analyse microscopy data to Augmented Reality (AR) systems to support international collaboration, wearable technology will push boundaries in the Lab of the Future.

Thanks to technologies like automated sample preparation, the Lab of the Future is closer than ever. Find out more about how this technology is being used for untargeted metabolomics research and other disciplines in ‘Automated Sample Preparation: The Missing Hyphen to Hypernation’.

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