With the explosion of live-cell biology applications, more and more long-suffering cell biologists are banging their heads on the wall with frustration. The pitfalls of working with live cells are many, and the task of performing live-cell experiments may appear daunting. Many have been seen on the verge of losing their mind after working for days or weeks on preparation work only to see it all go in a quick twist of fate: It takes amazingly little to contaminate a cell culture, or to drop samples on the floor after a bad night. The inevitable question is: There must be a better way, right? So much pain and suffering in the name of science begs for a solution. Surely there is a cure out there; someone has already figured it out. Unfortunately, the curious scientist trying to answer this question will quickly find himself navigating between Scylla and Charybdis, for the solution is often automation so monstrous it is best left in the hands of the valiant adventurer, helped with an army of highly trained lab technicians and automation professionals. What to do? On one hand Charybdis the whirlpool monster of manual cell work which will get your head spinning with its long nights and weekends, heartbreaking failures and gnawing uncertainty (what is happening to my cells when I am not around?); On the other hand, Scylla, the 6-headed monster of robotic automation, that will demand more attention than your cells themselves, and will require that you boost your software and hardware IQ by 50 points before you even dare to approach it.
Then one fresh spring morning (well, it was actually in the dead of winter, but this is a love story, right?), something happened: A solution seemingly came out of nowhere with the soothing name of “BioSpa 8”. Wait… this can’t be automation, it is way too small… but… this is clearly not manual, there is some kind of moving arm in front. This brings us back to reality, and what we heard from visitors stopping by our booth at SLAS 2016 to look at BioSpa 8 in action. It went like this:
- "This is such a great idea!"
- "I just saw your ad: it's even smaller than I thought."
- "This price includes the arm too? Nice!"
- "Does it record all parameters over time? Great! And it sends text notifications? Wow!"
- "That's it? You just programmed it?"
By: BioTek Instruments, Xavier Amouretti, Manager, Product Marketing