The future of pipettes is now

The future of pipettes is now

Today and in the future: In 1961, Eppendorf brought the first piston-stroke pipette to market and changed the ways of working in labs around the world forever. Today, labs are going digital and pipettes are connected.

The need for innovative lab designs is becoming increasingly important as processing higher workloads faster and more predictably is demanded. This is no more apparent than in high-throughput (HT) analysis, a key theme of modern science that permeates through sectors from clinical diagnostics to academic research. With ever-developing technological advances, analysis of hundreds or even thousands of samples per day is possible in any given laboratory, facilitating large-scale experiments in areas such as compound testing and drug screening. In addition, HT analysis has become essential in clinical diagnostics and population-wide screening. As of April 2021, in the US alone, close to 370 million COVID-19 tests have been carried out1. As with other HT applications, this translates to billions of pipetting steps that have to be carried out with manual instruments or automated pipetting systems.

The global SARS-CoV-2-research requires billions of pipetting steps

Work smarter

While high throughput analysis offers several advantages – such as increasing statistical power, rapid validation of drug targets and disease diagnosis on national and international scales – it also creates challenges in workflow design, mass data management and documentation. These challenges are not unique to HT-analysis but apply universally to everyone in a lab environment. Imagine carrying out a detailed protocol, involving numerous pipetting steps, multiple technologies and having to record every single detail along the way. Sound familiar? Now, imagine a lab that maximizes instrument capabilities, automatically records detailed workflows and automates data storage across the entire workplace. This is the future and this is coming now. 

The defining feature of ‘smart labs’ is their connectivity. Through this connectivity, smart labs can offer a unified experience that is tailored, flexible and accessible from anywhere . From remotely monitoring environments (e.g. temperatures of incubators or freezers) to directly streaming information from in-use instrumentation to an electronic lab notebook, the possibilities are endless. But, what about the lab workhorse? How does the pipette fit into a smart lab? The new VisioNize® pipette manager  facilitates pipette connectivity and will not only make your lab smarter, but enable you to work faster. 

What are connected pipettes?

Put simply, a connected pipette communicates wirelessly with an operating system that can remotely program the device. Being the most widely used instrument in biology and medicine, connected pipettes should be one of the earliest considerations when transitioning to a smart lab.

Your "entry ticket" to connected lab work: Eppendorf Xplorer® plus electronic pipettes with WiFi module

The VisioNize pipette manager is an external touchscreen control panel used to conveniently enter parameters – such as volumes – with all the settings being immediately transferred to up to 30 connected electronic pipettes. In turn, the pipette manager can be directly linked to customary tablets, allowing multiple simultaneous users. 

Smart lab tools like the VisioNize pipette manager allow modern scientists to work faster and in collaboration with others.

Pre-programming removes the need to manipulate pipettes during the protocol. While this can be particularly useful when working under hoods, it also provides a number of universal benefits. The large, easy-to-read VisioNize touch interface provides a welcome change to squinting at small digital pipette screens and makes it easier to input your parameters, speeding up the time it takes to carry out the pipetting protocol. Moreover, the sharing of settings and liquid types between pipettes and users helps keep your team cohesive and increases reproducibility across users. 

Common problems, simple solutions

Common to many HT analysis protocols is the requirement to dispense challenging liquids. For instance, volatile liquids such as ethanol and methanol are routinely used in nucleic acid purification and western blots, but often drip from the tip immediately after aspiration. Additionally, PCR reagents and ELISA buffers contain viscous liquids – such as glycerol and Tween® 20 – that frequently form bubbles when aspirating. These liquids are the source of frustrations for many pipette users and can easily lead to errors when pipetting for long durations. The VisioNize pipette manager has a number of pre-defined liquid types that can be used and applied to improve pipetting of these challenging liquids. When working with less common liquids of a difficult nature, it is possible to define a new liquid type and share them with your team. 

The future lab is connected: Eppendorf already offers digital lab solutions.

By its very nature, HT analysis demands the processing of hundreds or even thousands of samples. Ensuring this is carried out accurately and precisely usually requires a large set of pipettes  that are regularly calibrated to stay at peak performance . Enter VisioNize Lab Suite  – a cloud solution that supports lab managers in keeping track of their instruments and samples and plan the next pipette calibration in just a few clicks. 

Are you ready?

If you’re ready to delve into the world of connected pipettes, it’s important to consider how the device will integrate into your existing workflows. If you already have the Xplorer® and/or Xplorer® plus pipettes in your lab, it’s easy to upgrade these for use with the VisioNize pipette manager. Are you ready to have more time, less repetitive tasks, and more accurate results? Then re-define your pipetting routine with the VisioNize pipette manager; be faster, be more accurate and work more closely! 

Your expert partner in liquid handling

With 60 years’ experience in liquid handling, today Eppendorf is a full-solution provider in liquid handling, offering manual and automated instruments, high-quality consumables  and reliable and fast services. Eppendorf will continue to innovate to simplify cumbersome lab work and make it as ergonomic, safe and efficient as possible .

Eppendorf is your expert partner in liquid handling.

*Disclaimer: VisioNize pipette manager - as well as Xplorer and Xplorer plus pipettes are intended for molecular research applications only. They are not intended, verified or validated for use in the diagnosis of disease or other human health conditions.

1. COVID-19 tests by country | Statista.

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