When it comes to life sciences engineering, the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology (IPT) researches and develops pioneering technologies for almost every use imaginable. Working in interdisciplinary teams, the institute's engineering, biology and medical experts devise, among other things, concepts for automating laboratory processes in green, red and white biotechnology - from customized special-purpose measurement devices all the way to the automation of complex biological cell culture processes. The IPT is now using LABVOLUTION 2019 in Hannover to demonstrate solutions relating to microfluidic systems, the manufacture of surface structures for biomedical applications, and automated, high-speed microscopy for biological compounds. The automated, high-speed microscopy method on show can be used to capture images of large objects such as cell culture vessels with microscopic precision in next to no time. Compounds are digitalized in one continuous scanning process using autofocus hardware and evaluated in real time using deep learning algorithms, with new control and display concepts such as data glasses helping make the task even easier.
To meet the growing demand for differentiated stem cells - for illness-related research as well as screening active ingredients - scientists at the IPT have developed new methods for pre-differentiating stem cells that use adhesion to guide cells directly onto specific, special nano- and microstructured surfaces. Surface structures play an important role in many other applications, however. Targeted functionalization, for example, can help prevent germ growth, improve implant integration or influence surface wettability. Microfluidic systems, meanwhile, can be used to map complex chemical, biological and medical tests from start to finish in the tightest of spaces. Such systems are already taking shape in the Fraunhofer Project Centre at Dublin City University (DCU) and are being manufactured in cooperation with Fraunhofer IPT.