Lab of the Future is now

Team Talk

Why ELNs Need a Helping Hand... or Voice?

Célia Gasselin
Célia Gasselin November 24, 2020

The Future of ELNs

Electronic lab notebooks (ELNs) have been at the forefront of pharmaceutical digitalization. This technology promised to replace paper notebooks with a digital system that was easy, flexible and secure. However, many labs adopted ELNs only to find that they were static and difficult to use.


“Using the ELN is always a struggle. It is too slow to work with and a lot of information is missing because it is too slow to access.“ Analytical scientist at Top20 Pharma


The key problem is that ELNs were designed to work on desktop computers. Therefore, ELNs are usually located on computers in clean areas such as offices or dedicated spaces within labs. Scientists have to stop work, remove their gloves and leave the bench to access information or record data using their ELN. Many find that too hard, and instead take paper notes and later transcribe them into the ELN. This double-documentation wastes time, leads to data loss and also means that data is not truly contemporaneous.

Even when pharma companies tried using ELNs on tablets, scientists were unwilling to interrupt experiments to enter their data and record their observations.

An Easy Solution

Voice-powered digital lab assistants can bridge the gap between scientists and their software, including ELNs. Digital lab assistants are mobile, moving with scientists as they work. Assistants such as LabTwin are also voice-activated so scientists can record data or access information, in real time, simply by speaking.


"I have to make decisions very quickly depending on a particular outcome. Real-time recording and access to information is a great help." Senior Scientist at Top20 Pharma LabTwin user


With an open API, LabTwin’s voice-activated digital assistant integrates with lab instruments and existing legacy software, including ELNs. LabTwin can talk scientists step-by-step through protocols, automatically record data from lab instruments and provide scientists with instant, voice-activated access to data stored in their ELN. With LabTwin, scientists can also record voice notes, set timers and reminders, manage inventory and perform calculations, simply by speaking.

Complete, Integrated Data Management

Digital lab assistants integrate and connect existing lab infrastructure to provide seamless data management. LabTwin unlocks ELNs and lab instruments, making them instantly accessible from anywhere in the lab. Ultimately this saves scientists time, prevents data loss and makes R&D more efficient.


Read our white paper on Why ELNs Need a Helping Hand


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