Thoughts and updates from the OpenIO team

OpenIOLabs: the everyday hero for your lab

There’s power in small things. What works hardest for you in your lab? It’s not the expensive mass spectrometers and confocal microscopes but the fridges and incubators that give you the best bang for your buck.

What’s true for many scientists is that these unassuming pieces of equipment are critical to the day-to-day operation of your laboratory. Fridges, water baths, incubators and temperature gauges offer consistency in operation and reproducibility in your results.

Our experience working in labs means we know it is vitally important that your ‘mainstream’ equipment works well, which is why OpenIOLabs is designed to support them. Our system helps your lab work even better.

Our team work with several labs that need this consistency and reproducibility. They need it to monitor the conditions their samples are in as well to ensure their data is prepared and stored securely. Collaboration is also important in the day-to-day running of the lab – data needs to be accessible to all team members to access remotely or in the lab.

Supporting and improving your lab’s everyday equipment

Modern science is demanding; it requires flexibility and control as well as the need to be competitive or cutting-edge. What needs do lab users have and how can a connected lab help?

Providing context to your experiments

Big data is a jewel in the crown of modern science, but it comes with challenges too.

All of your mainstream equipment produces data constantly, storing it and processing it for future use, and this can lead to challenges of context. With OpenIOLabs you can contextualise experiments, so you can look back over the entire life of a sample in a particular experiment.

This is particularly useful to check for anomalies in processing or storage conditions. The way we make this work is by allowing you to add metadata – any tags that you see fit – which allows you to create context instead of unmanageable data.

Enabling two-way control

Our metadata capability offers simple data annotation for your lab, but we’re not just a data-logging service. The OpenIOLabs system offers two-way control which opens up edge processing too – a way to respond to a signal or control a piece of equipment. In practical terms, you could receive an email when a fridge breaks down or a light can flash if someone keeps an incubator door open too long.

Speeding up set up with easy installation

Complex set ups and fiddly instructions can often deter your team from implementing a connected system, which is why we’ve made the OpenIOLabs system easy to set up. Connect via USB, serial port or even just bare copper wires. Once your hardware is attached all you need to do is connect to WiFi (or via Ethernet) and upload the scripts from your devices to our web interface.

Then you have control!

Real-time autonomous control

Once everything is connected you are now free to write your own control application scripts, or you can even use one of our quick-start templates. Setting up OpenIOLabs is a work of moments that will reward you for days, weeks and months afterwards. Our system is built to give you real-time autonomous control with the ability to download or edit scripts as and when you need to.

Protecting the credibility of your work

Reproducible results are key to your credibility as a scientist, and the impact your work goes on to have. OpenIOLabs gives you confidence – you know the history of your samples in the context of your experiment and lab. The data is credible, secure and genuine – you’re able to share that data too, directly from the original database which also gives you an audit trail.

About OpenIOLabs

OpenIOLabs works by providing a central point for all your critical equipment. First, we have LabBook – the platform from which instruments are controlled. LabBook runs in the cloud and provides metadata tagging, reporting, monitoring, storage and programmatic control of your lab equipment.

Next is ScriptML, the heart of the OpenIOLabs system. This metalanguage translates your applications messaging into its own programming and control languages. This then means you can use one single language to control every piece of equipment in your lab, via OpenIOLabs.

The final piece of the system is the IO interface – the hardware in our system. This is how you integrate your lab equipment, by any means you wish.

Want to learn more about how to use OpenIOLabs? Visit our shop to start building your way to a connected lab.

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