UsefulChem Automation Trial with Mettler Toledo
Kevin Owens and I have been looking into equipment to automate some UsefulChem experiments.
This is something that I feel strongly will become important in Open Science applications, especially as it relates to Open Notebook Science. I think it is one of the paths of least resistance for the automation of the scientific process.
Industry is automated to the gills but it will probably be easier to convince academic practitioners of Open Science to automate their procedures rather than to get industry to open their data. Can you imagine a company allowing crowds to design and analyze experiments run on their machines? That is what we've been proposing and it would be difficult to reconcile that with a business model based on IP protection.
In that NSF proposal, we planned to use ChemSpeed's technology. Kevin and I recently visited ChemSpeed at their
ChemSpeed's systems are quite powerful but also expensive (200-400K). In order to take advantage of more funding opportunities, we've also been looking at Mettler-Toledo's MiniMapper/MiniBlock solutions. We're planning this out openly on this wiki page - any feedback is welcome.
I've had a good discussion with Frank Schoenen at the University of Kansas, where they run both systems as part of servicing the NIH Roadmap Program. Based on his feedback I think this trial run should be successful.