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A cheap, pipette-wielding robot wants to take over the boring bits of research

March 27, 2018

The affordable new lab machine promises even small research teams the chance to automate their experiments.

What it does: Basically, the most boring part of lab work. Created by Opentrons, OT-2 uses pre-written code, or custom code created by a researcher, to automatically perform experiments by measuring and moving liquids between containers.

Small-scale automation: Devices to perform pipetting tasks already exist, but they’re too big and expensive for smaller labs to use. OT-2 costs $4,000 and can sit on a standard lab bench, which means more researchers should be able to skip their pipetting.

Increased output: “We tend to think of our robots as a force multiplier, and expect every researcher can multiply their own output in the lab by about three times for every OT-2 they have running,” says Opentrons cofounder Will Canine.

The automated lab: The bot also has an open API, which means users can integrate the robot with things like Amazon Alexa—something scientists are already trying.

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