Mixed reality data processing has moved from the realm of science fiction films like The Minority Report into real-life science labs, thanks to a recent Microsoft HoloLens app, announced by polish IT company Solution4Labs.
Solution4Labs will customize the HoloLens VR experience, using the Holo4Labs app. Abiding by principles of digital automation and mixed reality, the app interacts with the Microsoft HoloLens headset to produce a mixed reality representation of Sample Manager, a data processing information management software used by scientists on a day-to-day basis.
Digital automation means greater accuracy, better compliance, and data storage that is automatic.
Anything that reduces paperwork means better use of scientists’ time, fewer read/write errors and the elimination of filing errors.
The Microsoft HoloLens 2 is a mixed reality headset you can wear lets you wear your eye-glasses under it and is comfortable to wear all day long. It contains its own batteries and is totally wire-free.
The second model in the HoloLens series, features a HUD (Heads-up display) and overlays
holographic images on top of real-world lab equipment.
What is Mixed Reality?
Mixed reality uses augmented reality and virtual reality to control physical reality. Users see holograms and interface with these using hand gestures, voice commands, and eye movements to control equipment on the lab bench in front of them.
Implementing mixed reality in the lab, means that people can use the augmented reality interface of the Microsoft HoloLens headset to control what happens to their real-world samples on the bench in front of them.
Quality control is improved using Holo4Labs software because errors are reduced. Operators can follow a series of steps on their HUD, with the software recording every action meaning that failure to adhere to standard operating procedures (SOPs) are recorded, which allows managers to document compliance issues and initiate further training where necessary.
Other interesting implications are:
* Highly-paid scientists can do more hands-on work in a day because their clerical duties are automated
* Data is stored automatically, so misfiling, lost results and any consequent expenses are
* Everything is recorded. Operator handling errors are eliminated and chain-of-custody
procedures are improved and more reliable.
* Users can conduct sample testing without handling samples, reducing the possibility of
errors and contamination.
* Supervisors have real-time information and don’t have to wait for typed reports to be sent by busy lab staff.
Holo4Labs has been developed in collaboration with Thermo Fisher Scientific, the largest lab software company in the field whose software is the de facto industry standard in most labs.
Holo4Labs is still under development and is being tested by Thermo Fisher Scientific to ensure it is fully compatible with their SampleManager LIMS (Lab Information Management Systems) software.
Mixed reality is a giant step for scientific workers in all kinds of labs, freeing them from the drudgery and mindless form-filling that takes up so much time. It reduces clerical errors, and makes it simpler for managers to trace errors that do occur.
A mixed reality interface is like giving each scientist three extra pairs of hands. It’s like employing a team of octopuses in terms of productivity gains.
Although the technology is a relatively high-cost investment, it will pay for itself at the enterprise level through increased efficiency in the lab environment.