Modern labs enabled by LabVantage Enterprise run very efficiently, with multiple workstations providing convenient access to all of the data any given user needs to perform their tasks.
Look closer, however, and you’ll probably find situations where both efficiency and data accessibility could be improved.
Many labs, of example, find themselves having to work around scenarios like these:
- Hazardous environments where the only access to data is via the use of a keyboard and mouse while wearing gloves or other protective gear.
- All instruments have a maintenance/calibration schedule that must be adhered to, especially in regulated environments.
- Freezers all around the laboratory contain different samples, preparation media or reagents needed for SOP execution.
- Sample preparation locations with no access to data, requiring paper SOPs to follow the preparation steps.
- Small or “dumb” instruments which don’t have a workstation but might be connected to the LIMS using an RS232 plug (remember those? Plenty of legacy lab instruments have them).
If any of these frustrations sound familiar, you’re not alone. Different types of labs in a wide variety of industries struggle with these and similar challenges. As one of the world’s leading LIMS systems, we decided it was time to do something about these issues!
See Your Lab Through a New Lens
LabVantage recently signed a strategic partnership with Holo4Labs. This agreement enables the integration of the Holo4Labs application and the use of Microsoft HoloLens 2 goggles with LabVantage. The combination of mixed reality software with LabVantage LIMS allows laboratories to digitize their lab processes while freeing lab technicians from paper notes and laptops. The results? Managing workflows more efficiently – and with fewer errors.
The HoloLens 2 goggles allow laboratory technicians to see hologram overlays that guide them through experiments and analysis — from identifying and managing reagents and finding the correct location of samples, to identifying instruments that require calibration before running an experiment or analysis.
This ensures each step is conducted efficiently and within specification. The resulting mixed reality laboratory environment allows hands-free execution of procedures for higher productivity and compliance.
Remember those challenging scenarios we mentioned above?
When combined with the Holo4Labs application, the mixed-reality solution will enable solutions like these:
- Data from non-connected instruments can be read directly from the display by the HoloLens, reducing human errors associated with typing values into the system. This also saves space in the lab by eliminating the need for an additional workstation to capture data or record results.
- Maintenance and calibration data can be available in your field of vision while wearing the HoloLens. The system knows which instrument you are looking at and can display all relevant data.
- All necessary items, such as your samples, reagents and preparation media can easily be found because Holo4Labs tells you the location of each of them, saving you the time and hassle of searching.
- The HoloLens enables you to access the information you need hands-free while executing your procedures. Voice recognition can streamline data entry and the execution of steps.
But best of all…this is just the beginning of improving data accessibility and efficiency.
Looking to the Future
We’ve looked at some of the other common challenges labs face and how they can be improved today using LabVantage, HoloLens, and Holo4Labs. But there’s a larger impact coming in the near future, and it’s called the metaverse.
First envisioned by futurists and science fiction writers, the metaverse will combine virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality environments into an integrated network that brings the world closer together, further removing the boundaries of distance.
This holds the promise of multiple benefits for labs, including:
- An interactive way to bring people together in a virtual reality to collaborate and share ideas on new and improved methods of laboratory execution.
- An efficient tool for training new hires on the execution of the laboratory methods, resulting in certified employees within a short period of time.
- Over-the-shoulder coaching, enabling co-workers to collaborate and share knowledge easily around the globe.
To learn more about the potential of mixed reality in laboratory processes, contact us today.