We are always in search of good use cases being driven by IoT-based technologies. When it comes to health care, the laboratory is a critical first step in improving quality of life. With IoT solutions being implemented in laboratory based environments researchers are solving problems and making advances in hours that have traditionally required days of direct monitoring. In addition to collecting data about equipment performance and laboratory conditions, scientists can use the IoT to deposit vast amounts of experimental data into the cloud directly from instruments and to control experiments remotely. Research in laboratories, most notably in biology and biomedicine, is rapidly becoming inextricably intertwined with online technologies.
One of the two high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) machines in Lakshminarasimhan Pranatharthiharan’s lab at Sunovion Pharmaceuticals in Marlborough, Massachusetts, wasn’t working. The instrument’s readouts—a series of peaks that indicate the components of the drugs that Pranatharthiharan’s group analyzes—were jumping around all over the place.
Troubleshooting the machine and complaining to the supplier of the columns used in the instrument failed to turn up a solution. So Pranatharthiharan’s team stuck a cloud-connected temperature sensor right next to the machine in question. After several days of using an electronic lab notebook (ELN) to record the temperature readings from the device, the team identified the problem: the building’s climate control system was blowing hot and cold air at specific times every day in the vicinity of the instrument. “If you happen to be running the analysis at that time: boom”—the readouts wouldn’t be accurate, Pranatharthiharan says. Once they figured out their building’s temperature fluctuations, he and his group were able to get their analyses back on track.