Let's make cool stuff; Redesigning the laboratory experience


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Traditionally thought of as the realm of experts, the user of laboratory equipment is changing. Markets in developing countries often mean that the work needs to continue without a high degree of expertise - even the physical location is changing as the 'lab' needs to move closer to the sample collection point; be that a reservoir, a hospital ward or a sporting venue. This talk examines how cool new technology mixed with a few creative ideas might be applied to the challenges of huge data sets, complex instrument systems and data analysis results to shape the future of 'laboratory' interactions for those new users.

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  • “Hello!”
  • "Question, hands up if you want to make or design cool stuff?"
    "And, hands up if you thought all that new technology that Martin talked about yesterday - and all the stuff mentioned today - looked exciting"
  • [intro]
    “… and I’m on all the usual social media stuff”
    “and all opinions are my own”
    “moving swiftly on…”
    “lets start with a guess the decade of the photograph competition”
  • “laboratory A”
  • “and.. laboratory B”
    “A show of hands; who thinks that these photographs were taken in the same decade? … two decades … three decades?”
    “These pictures are actually taken sixty years apart”
    “lot of shiny new machines in labs; the human interactions have not really changed
    that much at all in that time - and longer”
  • “so … apart from a mandatory ancient dilbert cartoon”
    “I’ would like to take a look at how adding new interaction technology might make a difference”
  • “so, lets start with a story”
  • “here we have our protagonists”
    “rod is going to collect samples,”
    “jane is going to analyse them”
    “and freddy is going to be called in to do some research on something that turns up during that analysis”
  • “here we have rod; selecting a storage vessel”
  • “then he is off to a stream to collect a water sample"
    “at this point he will hand write notes about the location, time of day etc.”
    [very manual]
  • “so, he gets the sample back”
    “now he has to copy the information he wrote down into a local system”
    [very manual]
  • “Then, quite often, another handwritten form will be filled indicating what tests are needed for the water sample”
    “Rod will then print a label and package things up”
  • “next he posts that package off to a contract laboratory to perform those tests”
  • “The package arrives on Jane’s desk. she gives rod a quick call to say it’s there”
    “These are sketches, but this storyboard is quite representative of how a lot of places still operate”
  • “Now we come to Jane”
    “The first thing that she will do is enter the sample information into the contract lab’s local system”
  • “Then she heads off to a preparation area; and gets the sample ready to be analysed”
  • “Since this is a busy lab, she will need to go and check to see if the system is available and running correctly”
    “If it is, she can pop her prepared samples in and press the GO button”
  • “Then, she’s off to check out the next package”
  • “and.. because she has something running,”
    “the usual practice is to keep popping back to to the instrument room to see if its all OK”
    “… and quite often this involves peeking through the room window at the monitor”
  • “… and repeat”
  • “in our story, Freddy now has to start looking at those results”
    “and doing dome expert analysis”
    “the instrument being dealt with can generate vast quantities of data “
    “- we are talking about terabytes each day in come cases”
  • “so, Freddy has to navigate through screen after screen of information,”
    “drilling into that data and, in our example, trying to identify some unknown contaminants”
    “and after quite some time”
  • “the poor chap is exhausted”
  • “so. walking through that story”
    “I’m hoping that you all saw”
    “even now there are quite a few very manual operations”
    “A lack of information sharing”
    “and review is a rather navigation intensive process”
  • “Onto the cool stuff”
  • “You are probably all aware - or at least after yesterday and this morning you are"
    " that right know there are a load of companies trying to make the next big thing”
    “a lot of this effort is concentrated on wearable technology”
    “and we have even seen a resurgence of virtual reality with projects like oculus rift and sony’s project morpheus”
    “We have a stack of smart watches turning up”
    “and, I’m assuming that everybody knows something about google glass”
    “if not it’s competition in the form of the optinvent ora”
  • “then we have various gesture control devices”
    “and having tried leap motion, I’m particularly interested in getting the myo”
    “which, if you don’t know, uses tendons to track hand movement”
    “finally, doing a search for ‘eye tracking java’ will give you a whole stack of open source projects”
    “looking at using webcams to track when you are looking at the screen”
    “… I’ve been playing with a project related to that just recently”
  • “So what happens if we give our heroes some new toys?”
  • “First we need some infrastructure”
    “Like making sure that the containers are pre-labelled with something that can be registered in the system”
  • “Now Rod is back by the stream”
    “This time he collects the sample, scans the QR code”
    “and tells glass that its a water sample”
    “it’s worth noting that he would general need to wear protective glasses anyway”
    “… so not so much problem with the ‘looking uncool’ factor”
    “all this also minimises the need to remove gloves etc.”
  • “Since the sample is already logged in the system,”
    “he can just print a label and get it posted”
  • “And, those QR codes can be used to report back that the sample has been received”
  • “Next, Jane can make use of a bit of that ‘still needing a killer app’ augmented reality “
    “this might be used to double check that the bottle in front of her contains what she is expecting”
    “this could also give he preparation instructions prior to analysis”
    [sorry about the spider arms]
  • “Now she can peer through the window of the lab”
    “and instantly see that the instrument system is currently busy”
    “… more QR codes”
    “if she were to enter the lab, she could just look around to find a suitable working system”
  • “she finally got here samples running”
    “… and now her smartwatch can report completion or a problem, or whatever”
    “she does not have to leave her preparation area or have to remove protective gear to go to another room”
    [more spider arms]
  • “Finally, Freddy gets a full virtual reality setup so he can immerse into the data”
    “or, at the very least,”
    “effectively have a giant screen where he can just look back and forth between reference points”
  • “As you gathered,”
    “I’m just using a lab because I’m familiar with the environment”
    “and it provides a lot of physical touch points”
    “also, they really need to come kicking and screaming into the present”
    “I would say, when you look at the touch points”
    “it’s worth thinking what other interaction options might be out there”
  • “Thank you!”
  • Let's make cool stuff; Redesigning the laboratory experience

    1. 1. HELLO … 1
    2. 2. LET’S MAKE COOL STUFF redesigning the laboratory experience @rick_threlfall #campdigital www.zyzzy.co.uk2
    3. 3. RICK THRELFALL user experience lead at Waters Corporation they make scientific stuff all opinions are most definitely my own @rick_threlfall #campdigital www.zyzzy.co.uk3
    4. 4. 4
    5. 5. 5
    6. 6. what difference might it make if we added new toys technology to the story? 6
    7. 7. THE ORDER OF THINGS • mandatory who am I etc. … tick • photograph competition… tick • the story • the toys • some ideas • beer/wine/etc. 7
    10. 10. COLLECT… 10
    11. 11. RECORD… 11
    12. 12. TEST REQUEST… 12
    13. 13. POST… 13
    14. 14. RECEIVED! 14
    15. 15. THE ANALYST RECORD… 15
    16. 16. PREPARE… 16
    17. 17. CHECK… ANALYSE…17
    18. 18. NEXT!… 18
    19. 19. KEEP CHECKING… 19
    20. 20. REPEAT! 20
    22. 22. SCREEN AFTER SCREEN… 22
    23. 23. SOME TIME LATER! 23
    24. 24. TOUCHPOINTS 24
    25. 25. THE TECHNOLOGY 25
    26. 26. 26
    27. 27. 27
    29. 29. LABELS… 29
    30. 30. NO WRITING… 30
    31. 31. SHARED DATA… 31
    32. 32. SHARED DATA! 32
    33. 33. TRACEABLE33
    34. 34. QUICK SYSTEM CHECK34
    35. 35. SAMPLES COMPLETE!35
    36. 36. 36
    38. 38. THANK YOU I hope you enjoyed Camp Digital 2014 @rick_threlfall #campdigital www.zyzzy.co.uk38