On this interview, Neil Benn, Managing Director from Ziath talks to Information-Medical about their vary of 2D Barcode Scanners which can be making pattern administration digital within the laboratory.
Please inform us concerning the firm Ziath and the merchandise you make?
Ziath is an organization primarily based in Cambridge, UK. It has been round for approaching 15 years, and we focus on instrumentation for pattern administration. Our main vary of merchandise is related to 2D barcode scanners for tubes held in racks. We even have pattern administration software program instruments to trace, decide and choose tubes.
We’re fairly distinctive within the market in the truth that we’re one of many few corporations that design, develop, make, produce, promote, and help their very own gear. We do not contract something out in any respect, which supplies us the power to quickly develop new merchandise and supply higher help than somebody who simply contracts out the technical elements of their work.
How has pattern administration been historically carried out inside a laboratory?
Again within the previous days, after I began, pattern administration labored by storing the samples in tubes. Presumably, you saved them unlabelled in a freezer. The truth is, the primary freezer that I used to retailer samples was a meat freezer within the automotive park, and the one labelling you had was writing on the rack or on the surface of the storage tube. Or, should you had been notably superior, you’d have a barcode, a 1D barcode, labelled on the aspect of the rack.
The databases, in the event that they existed, had been very often simply Phrase paperwork or Excel paperwork, and there wasn’t a lot idea of getting refined monitoring for chemical compounds within the trade. Over the past 20 years pattern administration has completely modified from these fairly fundamental and rudimentary beginnings.
What had been the adjustments you noticed when 2D barcodes tubes had been launched?
From humble beginnings with samples saved in a meat freezer, with monitoring utilizing Phrase and Excel information, we now have developed at present to classy cell pattern monitoring functions. What occurred throughout this journey was that pattern administration started to be taken as a real severe self-discipline.
As organizations realized that their samples had been extremely precious, pattern administration turned an actual self-discipline, moderately than simply one thing that obtained shoved apart, given to the junior tech with a freezer within the automotive park.
The introduction of 2D barcodes tubes is what actually modified that. I used to be there at the beginning of it as a person; the gear was not simple to make use of. That is once we began Ziath. We had been the primary firm that had sample-tracking barcode-reading instruments that had been extremely simple to make use of.
What are the factors of failure with this methodology?
The principle level of failure with this methodology is that, with out particular person bar-coded tubes, it’s extremely simple to misidentify a tube. In case you decide up a tube and put it down within the fallacious place, you may by no means know. Which means you may be sending the fallacious pattern out to the biologist, or chemist, or physician, whoever it’s that is processing it. Then, there’s the problem that in case you are dealing with particular person tubes, and also you make a mistake, as an illustration, should you drop a rack of 96 tubes on the ground, then you definitely’ve misplaced observe of all of the samples. As I mentioned, should you inadvertently put a tube or rack down within the fallacious place, once more, you may by no means know that you’ve made a mistake.
So, that is one of many core sources of errors. The opposite aspect of it’s that should you’re storing these in a freezer that varies in temperature, you’ll by no means know concerning the injury precipitated to your samples.
Then the final issue is that if your information monitoring techniques aren’t as much as scratch. On this occasion, there is a excessive probability you might lose a pattern or not be capable of discover it once more when you positioned it within the system, as a result of your information monitoring system cannot sustain with the variety of samples you are dealing with.
How will cell apps and gadgets like this remedy these factors of failure?
As of late, organisations are typically storing their samples in 2D barcodes tubes. Worldwide there are a lot of 2D barcoded tube producers, and we see new ones popping out each few years. Nevertheless, what occurs very often lately is that the samples aren’t saved in meat freezers anymore. They’re saved in both giant -80C freezers or liquid nitrogen tanks. However these typically are typically in an outbuilding, or in a basement, or someplace that is not a pleasant cosy, insulated lab with beautiful Web and Wi-Fi and energy.
So, though we have now obtained enterprise-scale database techniques with barcoded tubes and racks and techniques to trace all these, you continue to very often have to put in writing on a scrap of paper. You be aware down which liquid nitrogen tank you need, which rack you need, which shelf you need, which freezer it’s in and so forth. You then go down together with your scrap of paper, pull the tubes out, tick them off on the scrap of paper, after which carry them again to the lab to test that you have the appropriate ones.
What you actually need to have the ability to do is test them on the level of retrieval. Now, that is not really easy, as a result of rooms the place you may have fridges and liquid nitrogen tanks aren’t typically appropriate locations for an enormous laptop computer. As such, the drivers for cell apps are which you can be within the lab and get the knowledge you need in your cell machine. This may then will let you head right down to your semi-automated or guide storage space with that app, and really course of the tubes there after which, and test you may have the appropriate ones. This eliminates the necessity for the pencil and scrap of paper that many individuals are nonetheless utilizing at present.
One other driver for adoption of cell apps and gadgets could possibly be in biobanking. Whenever you do biobanking, you might be dealing with human samples resembling blood, urine, and biopsy materials. As a result of samples are being taken from a affected person or in an working theatre, they can not actually be processed with customary pattern monitoring equipment and gear. Very often, a biobanking pattern will get thrown right into a tube and rapidly labelled up one way or the other, after which moved.
In case you can have a cell app that lets you register your biobanking pattern towards a selected barcoded tube, with the knowledge as near the purpose of assortment as you’ll be able to, then that may make your life a lot simpler. In case you’ve obtained one thing that appears identical to a telephone or PDA in entrance of you, it isn’t going to fret the affected person unduly when in comparison with having a big and unfamiliar piece of apparatus there.
How else might the introduction of cell apps and gadgets profit pattern administration within the laboratory?
There may be a whole lot of hype about some great benefits of utilizing the Web for pattern administration. Basically should you can remotely management your pattern administration course of, then you’ll be able to decide all of it up and carry it round with you wherever you go, permitting you to select up a tube and scan it.
It can then inform you what is the subsequent step within the course of that should occur to this tube. Do it is advisable to go and ship it to somebody for organic therapy? Does it should be diluted? Does it should be delivered to a sure individual? You need to use the cell machine straight for monitoring samples. So, when these samples come into your lab, you’ll be able to obtain the pattern in and alter the tracked location to say that it is coming to, or arrived at, your office. That lets you simply pull out a pattern, scan it, after which register it into your system as you want it. It simplifies the bodily dealing with while sustaining monitoring integrity and protecting your database updated.
After all, this is not revolutionary stuff. Persons are gazing their telephones on a regular basis, possibly an excessive amount of, and a cell machine might do the identical factor. In case you examine logistics for supermarkets, as an illustration, they get this type of stuff sorted out and organized rapidly. So, what must be achieved isn’t science fiction, however scientists do definitely have to catch as much as the remainder of the industrial world within the adaptation of cell gadgets for controlling their course of from begin to end.
How is Ziath serving to pattern administration transfer to the subsequent stage of digital data administration?
We have already obtained a handheld machine that lets you scan barcoded tubes that may work together with third-party techniques. It is fairly revolutionary. There’s nothing else prefer it in the marketplace, and we’re at present working with prospects to combine it into their bigger pattern administration techniques.
The platform utilized by this machine is designed to be open so to combine it into your techniques in the best way by which you need. You can even have a community of those gadgets in case your pattern administration quantity requires it. Sooner or later, we’re trying to have our gadgets help Bluetooth, with batteries in them, in order that moderately than bringing your racked samples to the barcode scanner, you might carry a barcode scanner to the pattern racks. Our subsequent technology goes to be battery enabled, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi-enabled gadgets which you can decide up and take with you.
What are some great benefits of utilizing Ziath to make pattern administration in a laboratory digital? How does Ziath examine to your opponents in the marketplace? What actually units you aside?
Earlier than beginning the corporate, I labored in pattern administration in a wide range of completely different organizations from giant pharma to academia. The gear obtainable to us was troublesome to make use of, and never notably dependable, so we got down to make gear that rectified these issues. That was our first goal.
The subsequent goal, which I talked about earlier than, was to have superb help. Usually I might need to get help, and I might should fill a type in or converse to somebody, who’d converse to somebody, who’d converse to another person. So, we determined that the help would come from the individuals who have the data and expertise to construct the devices, which we nonetheless do at present. Assist is finished by the senior folks within the firm, moderately than by extra junior workers members.
This ethos is mirrored in that while I’m the Managing Director of the corporate I’m additionally answerable for help. Having wonderful customer support at our core is significant, as a result of in case you are in entrance of a machine and it is advisable to know methods to use it, or it isn’t doing one thing that you just assume it ought to be doing, you want a educated individual that will help you. That is an space by which Ziath excel. That occurs as a result of we construct, design, and make our personal gear. Nobody else does that. The launch of a number of generations of progressive gear from Ziath has helped revolutionize the usage of pattern monitoring.
We do not make 2D barcoded tubes; we’ll work with anyone’s tubes. We wish to name it “tube agnostic”. You may select whichever provider you need to use, and we assure our stuff will work with all of the 2D Datamatrix tubes at present in the marketplace. So, that is the place we at the moment are.
As I’ve beforehand mentioned, our future encompasses embracing the idea of cell applied sciences, together with transportable scanners. You can management the scanners from an internet web page or management your tube rack scanners from a telephone. We’re trying to unchain the entire pattern monitoring course of from the bench and produce it as near the purpose of storage as attainable, which is the liquid nitrogen tanks and the freezers.
The place can our readers go to search out out extra?
To seek out out extra please go to http://www.ziath.com/
About Neil Benn
Neil is co-founder and Managing Director of Ziath. Since 1994, Neil has expertise with a spread of corporations; GlaxoSmithKline; Cambridge Antibody Expertise, Cenix Bioscience GmbH and the Max Planck Institute of Cell Biology and Genomics. Inside these corporations Neil has been answerable for the event, upkeep and implementation of laboratory automation and related software program with a give attention to course of management and knowledge administration.
Neil has served on the board of the European Laboratory Robotics Curiosity Group (ELRIG) in each Germany and the UK. He was the informatics chair for Lab Automation 2009, has edited for the Journal for the Affiliation for Laboratory Automation and likewise serves on the board of The Journal for Laboratory Automation. Neil has a Bachelor’s diploma in Biotechnology and a Grasp’s diploma in Laptop Science.