Modularity in Motion

Every so often technology helps transform people’s perception of what is possible. This has occurred on a handful of occasions within the lab automation market.

The top four are simultaneous arm movement on a liquid handler (Beckman Biomek FX), Modernized, compact automation (i.e. Velocity11), acoustic dispensing (i.e. Labcyte Echo), and modularity (HighRes MicroDock/MicroCart). Each of these technological advances has helped shape our market and other companies’ future product development directions.

Fast forward eighteen years later, and I still see several companies attempting to mimic HighRes’ approach to modularity. Some companies tout they provide modular systems (i.e smart carts). If the carts were that smart, shouldn’t all power, communication, air, and gas automatically plumb into the cart upon docking the cart onto the system? Here’s a hint … yes.

The MicroDock/MicroCart ushered in a new era of modular automation. It provided users the ability to perform device distribution on and/or across work cells, as well as allowing shared devices across client sites. The modularity shocked most lab automation engineers. At the time, robotic process automation was behemoth-sized platforms that were static and inflexible. The MicroDock/MicroCart changed people’s perception from static, inflexible systems to docked, modular solutions.

Device distribution modularity became the way clients and competitors defined HighRes. With the upcoming launch of Nucleus, we are changing that narrative. Nucleus will expand our modularity capabilities to include not only device distribution, but also, system componentry and sample distribution. This expansion will change the way scientists perceive and interact with their lab automation solutions. From a system componentry perspective, the table and carts will no longer be a static structure on your system. The components will now be able to adjust as researchers grow their capabilities and evolve their science. The link below provides a visual representation of how system component modularity will impact how one gauges and interacts with their system.

Sample distribution modularity is possible with the mobility of our MicroCarts provided HighRes or third-party storage devices. However, this approach required human assistance to move sample storage from one system to another. With Nucleus, sample distribution will be enabled between either work cells or between individual devices pending where the sample is required via a pending work order. This assistance-free sample distribution modularity signals a new era for HighRes modularity and greatly enhances our client’s capabilities for tomorrow’s work today.

To get a better perspective on HighRes’ three pillars of modularity, please visit booth 808 at the upcoming SLAS2022 conference.

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