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    September 29, 2022

    Manual pipetting just got a lot easier

    Manual pipetting is a necessary part of lab life, but it’s slower and more difficult than it needs to be. It takes time to calculate and plan dilutions, mixture compositions, and mastermixes. When we want to make changes—however minor—to a protocol, we’ve got to redo a lot of our work. 

    And what about the pipetting itself? It can be difficult to be sure that we’re following along with each step correctly. As for properly documenting our work when we do it, what reliable options do we have? And what if we ever want to convert a reliable manual protocol into an automated one?

    Right now, we might use a combination of various different tools to help our work: spreadsheets for planning and calculations, word documents for describing instructions, and ELNs/LIMS for bringing everything together afterward.

    In short, it’s all over the place.

    That’s why we’ve introduced Manual Execution Mode to the Synthace platform to offload a lot of admin work and make it easier and quicker to get on with things.

    We think you’re going to like it. So let’s dive in.

    Plan and preview your work in advance

    Using the manual execution mode on Synthace means that the burden of calculating and planning pipetting volumes disappears. Starting volumes of liquids that will be used in a workflow will be automatically calculated based on user input, like the number of samples, concentration, volumes, and so on. Want to iterate on or expand your workflow? No problem! Mixture compositions are easy to adapt and are automatically scaled and recalculated based on your input.

    manual - wf

    manual preview

    What this means:

    • No uncertainty about the liquids you’ll need and the mixes you’ll make
    • Your volumes are calculated for you in advance
    • Certainty about what you’ll end up with before you even enter the lab

    Follow automatically generated step-by-step instructions

    When it’s time to go into the lab, Synthace gives you a step-by-step guide to follow as you do your work. If you can take your laptop into the lab, you can tab through each step with the right arrow. If not, you can export your instructions as a TXT file and format/print them however you’d like.


    manual instructions txt

    What this means:

    • No need to write out each step yourself, just follow with your laptop or an automatically generated file

    Automatic and unambiguous documentation

    Manual execution steps are documented and represented in the same format as automated executions. This means that these executions can talk to each other and input data. You can read everything in a way that makes sense, and so can your equipment.


    What this means:

    • Your manual pipetting work is documented automatically in the platform
    • You don’t need to write anything up afterward, but you can export it if you want to

    Convert manual instructions to automated ones

    Not everything has to be automated but we might sometimes invest in new equipment to scale up, give ourselves more walk-away time, or just give our thumbs a rest. Right now, there’s no option but to take our combination of spreadsheets, word documents, and notebook entries and convert this into code for automation equipment.

    What if you could do this instantly? With Synthace, you can now select workflows and choose to run them manually, or with automation. The platform generates instructions that both humans and machines can understand. So, if you need to automate something you used to do manually, all you need to do is flip a figurative switch.

    manual vs auto

    What this means:

    • No need to translate human instructions into machine code, Synthace does this automatically
    • Simple to on-board new equipment like liquid handlers and dispensers if you invest in them later on

    Could this help you in your lab?

    We’ve already rolled this feature out to our current customers. If you think you might want to join them, or maybe just take a closer look at what the platform can do, book a call with one of our experts—they’ll be happy to help answer your questions.

    This post is part of a bigger series about our latest features. Keep your eyes peeled for more coming soon.

    Nuno Leitão, PhD

    Dr. Nuno Leitão is a Principal Research Scientist at Synthace, where he leverages his 10 years of research experience in molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, and DOE, to help drive product development. In his 5 years at the company, he has led and consulted on many internal projects and customer initiatives.

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