It’s a very exciting time to be involved in research. Technological advances are accelerating and scientists can now answer questions that were impossible to address a decade ago. This abundance of data is a two-edged sword, scientists can feel snowed under by reams of big data and the ever-increasing complexity of machines and experimental processes.
We created LabTwin to help scientists easily record their observations in the lab, but also to connect all the tools and information available to researchers. LabTwin is the world’s first voice-powered digital lab assistant. It frees up scientists’ cognitive load by streamlining their workflow and giving them instant access to information at the bench. With LabTwin researchers can take notes, record results, set timers or reminders, and even create order lists just by talking.
Why Use Voice Technology?
Voice is the way humans naturally communicate. It’s a very approachable solution - simple, flexible and accessible. Voice is the natural layer between humans, machines and information - and it was missing from laboratory tools. When we looked at electronic lab notebooks (ELNs) and other ways scientists gather data and record results, we saw a huge gap. There was no easy way for scientists to document their findings at the bench. Researchers had to stop work and take off their gloves to be able to write down results or look up information.
Our guiding principle with LabTwin is that scientists can focus on their experiments, and without ever taking their hands off the experiment, they can easily perform other functions like recording results, accessing data or creating an order list.
Why Use Machine Learning?
It takes over a decade and $2 billion to bring a drug to market. This process can obviously be more efficient. R&D processes within biopharma are very data-driven. Advances in machine learning can really help us generate patterns from the enormous amount of data we create. This can accelerate the drug discovery and development process and help bring drugs to market faster.
Today scientists face not just the problem of dealing with a huge amount of data but also the vast variety of data formats. When data is converted from one format to another, there is often quite a bit of manual data manipulation and this can introduce human errors. We have the greatest minds in the world trying to copy and paste values from one spreadsheet cell to another. I think there is a better use of their time.
I think there could be so much more advancement if there were better collaboration, easier exchange of information and easier access to information. Today we still very much see an archive approach to reporting and analyzing data. What I would like to see is almost living documents that people can interact with in their daily discoveries. Something that can be accessed and processed on the go, as opposed to the complex folder structures in currently available software.
We need solutions that are open, nimble, easy to integrate, and that can connect disparate formats. That requires a mindset shift and awareness of new technologies. We have some way to go in spreading awareness - surveys show that up to 60% of scientists are not aware of the AI and machine learning tools that are available.
I think that all of us working in AI and machine learning can make leaps in better education and awareness. We need to help scientists understand how these new tools can help them in their day-to-day work life. Useability and simplicity are also very important. Simplicity is very much lacking in this industry. We need to create tools that are simple and useable.
At LabTwin, we are a diverse team of technologists, engineers, designers - and scientists of course! Our key driving principle is to remain human-centric. For us the key is to enable, enhance and augment scientists with invisible, connected, natural technology that sits in the background and supports scientists whenever they need it.
That’s where we see our big role to play. We see LabTwin being a very intuitive, simple interface between scientists, information, lab equipment and instruments – almost a nervous system for the laboratory environment.