Future of Work

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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