Science is an increasingly complex and collaborative endeavor, with an estimated 13 million scientists working around the world. Whilst there have been growing attempts to ensure data, both of successful and unsuccessful experiments, is shared, the practicalities of sharing data is often a struggle.
All of this leads to an incredibly wasteful process, with estimates suggesting as much as 50 percent of R&D time goes to waste.
A new start-up is hoping to improve matters by helping the scientific instruments used in research to connect up with one another, sharing data as experiments unfold.
The Nest of research labs
The start-up, called TetraScience, provides research labs with the requisite hardware and software to connect their existing equipment to the Internet. The instruments can then be monitored and controlled remotely, with data logged and alerts sent where necessary.
The service offers a plug and play platform that can interact with hundreds of different instruments. It can do this primarily because it is technology agnostic, which marks it out as different to rival products.
The platform has already secured over a dozen customers, including big pharma companies, hospitals, universities and biotech companies. There are over 100 data streams currently coursing through the system, with more added each day.
How it works
Central to the system is TetraScience Link, which is the hardware module used as the hub of the network. Researchers connect their equipment up to the link, which then connects up the web on their behalf.
Once the devices are online, the researchers can access them via their dashboard, where they can monitor their equipment in real time and control how they operate.
The dashboard will also allow them to set up various alerts, so for instance, if a fridge becomes too warm, they can be notified and take appropriate action. There is also a newsfeed for their experiments so researchers can see how events unfolded.
Suffice to say, time will tell how effective the platform is at supporting real change in the research process, but it’s an interesting concept that is well worth keeping an eye on.