German researchers magic up new digital lab notebook

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  • Published: Jun 23, 2015
  • Author: Jon Evans
  • Channels: Ion Chromatography / Sample Preparation / HPLC / Detectors / Electrophoresis / Proteomics & Genomics / Laboratory Informatics / Gas Chromatography / Infrared Spectroscopy / Base Peak / Raman / UV/Vis Spectroscopy / NMR Knowledge Base / Proteomics / MRI Spectroscopy / Chemometrics & Informatics / Atomic / X-ray Spectrometry

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Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart, Germany, have developed a digital lab notebook called Merlin, which aims to simplify the process of creating, storing and accessing scientific documentation.

The core of Merlin is a protocol editor, which helps scientists write up their experiments as protocols and plan future ones, producing reliable documentation of manual, automated, and semi-automated laboratory processes. Researchers can view and input data on a table-sized touch display, which also doubles as a work surface. This means they get the data right where they need it.

Merlin can also control laboratory equipment and ensure that results flow directly into the system. ‘The program makes documentation easier,’ says Sebastian Schöning, group manager at Fraunhofer IPA. ‘You can see precisely what was done in a certain experiment, even years later. We purposely kept the operating interfaces simple, so that Merlin can take as much off the researchers’ hands as possible.’

Fraunhofer IPA is presenting Merlin at the BIO International Convention, taking place in Philadelphia, US, on 15–18 June 2015, with the aim of producing a final, finished version by the end of this year.

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