Use case 1: Bioreactor inoculation

Modern biopharmaceuticals such as antibodies for cancer treatment are produced using bioprocesses, in which microorganisms or animal cells grow in a bioreactor and produced the desired active agent.

Every process begins on a small scale in a flask shaker, and is scaled up via multiple process steps until the organism can be transferred to the bioreactor. During growth in the reactor, samples are taken regularly to document the process. Key parameters include the biomass concentration, as well as nutrient and metabolite concentrations. Along with direct analysis of the samples, it is customary to freeze extra cultures for later examination. This process is demonstrated at smartLAB in the bioreactor inoculation use case. Some of the technologies applied here are 3D printing, mobile communication, data glasses, a robot, and automatic documentation.

Use case 2: Phosphate analysis

Plants require phosphorus. This soil nutrient supports metabolic processes and is required for the formation of DNA. However, because phosphate compounds are not available everywhere in the necessary quantities, fertilization using phosphates is an important aspect of agriculture and gardening. Soil analysis is needed to fertilize appropriately.

In this use case, the phosphate content of a soil sample is determined photometrically. The entire smartLAB process is controlled from the lab technician's tablet. Scanners, data glasses and robots are used, and the advantages of device integration into the honeycomb structure of the lab are clearly illustrated. Data analyses and calibration checks are conducted automatically.

Use case 3: Food analysis

Molecular biology processes at the DNA level are well suited to identify genetic changes or microbial contaminations.
In use case 3, food samples (popcorn) are examined for GMO corn using PCR analysis. The smartLAB Thermomix sends a notification to the lab technician's smartphone when the sample is ready for further processing, and instructions for the next steps are displayed on the data glasses. A telepresence robot is also used to contact a colleague in another lab.