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 New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>