Biotech’s Problems Will Be Solved by Internet of Things

The Internet of Things has the potential to change biotech laboratories and research thanks to top-notch and highly-valuable applications.

Photo: Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier/Flickr

Photo: Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier/Flickr

The Internet of Things, or machine-to-machine communication, is becoming quite popular nowadays not only among representatives of high tech and IT industry but also among investors.

They consider the IoT as a cost-effective and more efficient way to make the global economy develop fast. In addition to that, the Internet of Things has the potential to change biotech laboratories and research thanks to top-notch and highly-valuable applications.

So, at the end of March, IBM announced its plans to start a new Internet of Things (IoT) unit, in which IBM will invest $3 billion during the next four years. “Our knowledge of the world grows with every connected sensor and device, but too often, we are not acting on it, even when we know we can ensure a better result,” said Bob Picciano, senior vice president of IBM Analytics, commenting on the launch of the new IoT unit.

As for biotech’s problems, the main and oldest one is reproducibility. Troubles are hidden in the fact that scientists may make mistakes as all we do. The truth is that even when experiments are performed correctly, two laboratories can have different results.

However, robots cannot produce incorrect results or mislabel samples, they won’t put the wrong liquid to a test tube and so on.  That’s why the Internet of Things is able to rescue biotech providing all necessary robots and software.

In fact, Ginkgo Bioworks recently opened Bioworks1, an 18,000-square foot facility, the work of which can be tracked via a virtual database. It includes 20 robots ready which will conduct and control biotech research.

As far as everything in the facility has a bar-code label to follow each sample and step in an experiment, robots are able to order items that are out-of-stock tracking inventory and ensuring research can be conducted without problems.

The Motley Fool reports that several bioCAM, or computer-aided manufacturing companies, have created R&D platforms, which can be used via the cloud by researchers who live in different places and have an Internet connection.

Thanks to  that invention, they can submit experiments virtually to Emerald Cloud Lab or Transcriptic. Moreover, robots conducting the experiments will send an email when the results are ready. Obviously, this way to execute researches is cheaper, and the results are reproducible.

Today, lots of private firms are busy to build biotech’s automated system, and the bio-Internet of Things is already starting to attract interest of publicly traded companies. The future in this field is already quite optimistic and it appears to become even brighter.

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