Editorial Article: Your Simplified Guide to Pipetting Success

Discover TRACKMAN® Connected, the new personal laboratory assistant designed to keep you on track as you pipette from one microplate to another.

15 May 2018

Do you struggle with experiment repeatability? With studies indicating that 50 to 90% of all research may have reproducibility issues the answer is likely yes. In response to this, Gilson® has developed TRACKMAN® Connected, an all-in-one kit with a tablet, apps, and accessories that make pipetting on 96-well or 384-well plates traceable, faster and more reliable.

Designed for scientists who hope to run smarter, faster experiments the TRACKMAN® Connected kit comes with the PipettePilot™ app which interacts in real-time with the pipette and guides you through your pipetting protocol enabling easy pipetting planning and tracking. In this interview with Gilson’s Director of Product Information Platforms, Steve DeCabooter, discover all that this laboratory solution can offer. 

Pipette smarter. Report faster. Confidently.

SS: What was the initial concept for TRACKMAN® CONNECTED, what did you set out to create?

For all of our company’s history, our goal has been to help scientists produce verifiable science and make their lab life easier through the instruments we make.  For us, TRACKMAN® Connected is the next step in this journey—using data and real time communications between the tablet application and our connected pipettes to improve the required time spent pipetting, to reduce the likelihood of errors (particularly when filling 96- and 384- well microplates) and to improve reproducibility.

By providing a connected environment and access to sync to a free electronic lab notebook, we’re supporting researchers throughout their workflow from bench to electronic lab notebook, reducing risks of errors and allowing better traceability, which improves reproducibility of experiments even if people and the environment change.

SS: What advantages does this technology offer over conventional pipetting techniques?

TRACKMAN® Connected interacts in real time with the pipettes, telling the pipettes what action and volume they should take. This alone saves a researcher a significant amount of time normally wasted by having to set volumes manually.  

Beyond that, the technology makes collaboration easy.  Pipetting plans created by one researcher can be shared with others, helping to ensure that teammates can repeat the same steps as defined.  Then, when the protocol is finished, TRACKMAN® Connected creates a report that shows all of the steps taken, providing an easy way to record the work that has been completed as well as traceability that can be shared across the team.

SS: How easily could TRACKMAN® Connected be implemented within a standard lab?

TRACKMAN® Connected can easily fit into any lab because it is based on the same pipetting techniques researchers are already using.  With the tablet app, a researcher can paperlessly record their protocol.  From there, TRACKMAN® Connected will guide the user through the steps.  A researcher filling a microplate no longer has to worry about remembering their next step when they get interrupted, or if they just filled a well—TRACKMAN® Connected will show them.  At the end of the run, the report that can be exported either to an electronic lab notebook or as a file that can be used within their existing process.

SS: What do you see for the future of this technology and its applications?

Here at Gilson, we see great things enabled by connectivity in the lab.  

First, there are many ways that we will continue to enhance productivity.  Taking our expertise in liquid handling as an example, a researcher can already enter and share a protocol, but we see that same researcher in the near future being able to use that same protocol and decide at the bench each day whether they’d like to perform it on their own with a pipette or, with a robot, set up the exact same run and walk away to do something else.

Secondly, connectivity enables frictionless collaboration.  We are in the early days of this as an industry but, in the future, all of the pieces in your workflow will be linked from consumables through liquid handling and analysis.

And, thirdly, we see connectivity as the path to improve the efficiency of the lab.  What equipment is being used?  How much?  Where is it?  Do they need service?  These are all questions connected products can help answer.  Similarly, Gilson is exploring ways that we can share our expertise in liquid handling to provide on-demand training of team members, from basic training for the newest lab member to advanced training for the more experienced researcher.

We are only just starting on a very exciting journey!

Discover more about the TRACKMAN® connected >>