How Autonomous Mobile Robots Improve Lab Workflows

May 18, 2022  |  Trends

When you think of laboratory automation, you might think of large robotic arms — the kinds that are bolted in place next to instruments they load with samples. But as automation evolves, customers are getting new options that tend to be more mobile, flexible, and agile.

Autonomous mobile robots are a recent addition to automation systems, and they offer a degree of flexibility that was never possible before. These robots use sensors to independently navigate their environment and work around people and instruments in the lab. We think of them as Roombas on steroids! They can easily move samples among instruments in the same lab or transport them to labs on separate floors or in different buildings.

Mobile robots are designed to work collaboratively with scientists to perform tasks as efficiently as possible. Because they can move, scientists who use them can set up their labs in new ways. For example, scientists who run next-generation sequencing experiments can break up their processes into multiple workstations that do not have to be located next to each other. They can then program mobile robots to move hundreds or thousands of samples from one station to the next.

And these robots can operate without much oversight. Scientists can run experiments during the day and then feed mobile robots with the consumables they need to continue running assays through the night. All scientists have to do is retrieve and analyze the results in the morning.

Biosero was one of the first companies to incorporate mobile robots in the lab environment. While we don’t typically focus on hardware, we got into mobile robots because they offered clear value for our customers, and no other automation providers were making them readily available. We have had plenty of time to understand how they work best, and we have used that knowledge to develop advanced functionality for our Green Button Go software that lets our customers implement mobile robots in their labs.

With Green Button Go software, scientists can manage all kinds of workflows and tasks through their mobile robots. Our software can integrate fully automated or non-automated systems, and we can train these robots to move seamlessly between buildings or labs. Our software is hardware-agnostic, so it can work with any type of mobile robot available on the market. We are also developing technology that lets us connect multiple robots as part of a dedicated fleet.

Switching to mobile robots means that scientists no longer have to install dedicated infrastructure within easy reach of a robotic arm or set up conveyor belts just to transport samples in the lab. If you are interested in using these robots in your lab or have already purchased some new robots and need software that can integrate them into your existing infrastructure, our team is ready to help. Please reach out to discuss your needs.