Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Chemistry of a cuppa: Helping to digitize the laboratories of tomorrow

04.02.2005


The brewing of tea formed a crucial component of a project which successfully took traditional paper laboratory books and moved them to digital formats. Now that knowledge and experience is being put to use in a subsequent project by University of Southampton computing researchers who are aiming to apply similar techniques to Bioinformatics.

The eScience project, which could revolutionize the way in which scientists share information, is appropriately called myTea. It has received funding of over £200,000 from the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council).

The researchers, from the School of Electronics and Computer Science at Southampton, and the University of Manchester, will draw on best practice design methods learned from other eScience projects, specifically, their own SmartTea project, which explored how paper-based information from a chemistry environment could be captured in digital forms. They will also refer to the University of Manchester’s myGrid project in order to design an integrated experiment annotation capture system for bioinformaticians.



The initial exploration of the SmartTea project involved finding common ground which would enable the practices of the scientists, as recorded in their paper lab books, to be understood by the computer researchers. ‘This was crucial for us,’ said dr monica schraefel of the School of Electronics and Computer Science at Southampton. ‘In order to help the scientists record their information digitally, we needed to be able to understand exactly how they described what they were doing in their paper lab books, and what aspects of it they recorded.’

After observing a team of chemists at work in the University labs, the researchers hit on the idea of watching the chemists make tea and record it as if it were an experiment, so that the researchers could understand exactly what was happening in the process on the bench as the scientists recorded it.

Because they knew what was happening during the tea-making, they could understand how the scientists chose to record and classify important aspects of the process, or to ignore things that were not important for the “experiment”.’ ‘So now, instead of writing into a lab book, scientists will write into some other type of hardware, like a tablet PC,’ said monica schraefel. ‘That data is immediately written to a server so it is stored not only locally on the computer, but on the server, and therefore immediately accessible outside the lab and to other scientific communities. ’

Armed with this experience, the researchers are now moving on to the field of Bioinformatics. Although the outcome of providing more effectively organized and accessible information is the same, the problems and processes are different.

‘In the Chemistry lab we took the “book” out of the lab to capture lab processes into digital form,’ said monica schraefel. ‘The issue here is the reverse here: bioinformaticians are already all digital, and ironically, that’s the problem: they create hundreds of files spread across their hard drive for an ongoing experiment, but have no easy way to associate files with an experiment. So, this time, we need to put some of the book back into the process, to help automatically generate a lab book-like view of their work to date, which they can annotate, plug into services like myGrid, or share with colleagues. ‘This work addresses one of the central planks of the eScience project,’ she added ‘—to get data from one scientific community out to another, right away, as soon as it happens.’

Joyce Lewis | alfa
Further information:
http://www.smarttea.org
http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

nachricht Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>