Remember when the first/best result of an experiment was the data that printed while the experiment ran?
You may have to think back 40 years. If you can’t, then here’s a once-upon-a-time tale from the lab:
It is 1969, and while the world tumbles to the end of the turbulent 60′s, you are safe in your lab worried about vacuum leaks, voltage spikes, flaky power supplies, and whether or not arcing will ruin your experiment, if not also your source.
Perhaps you also are worried about your strip chart recorder. Is the ink fresh? Is the stylus aligned? Is the paper rolling freely? (Is it on?) When you start your experiment, you’ll want to see the data acquired live, and breaking vacuum to reset the source because of a paper jam is not, well, groovy.
But there is one thing you can count on: a nice paper record of your experiment if it all works out OK. That little piece of paper goes into the dated, page-numbered lab notebook. (Too bad that some fraction of the time you have to cut out the peaks to weigh the paper for “semi-quantitative analysis.” ) In fact, that little paper record is always the first (and usually the best) tangible embodiment of your work and career.
Fast-forward 40 years. You live in a world of robotic sample handling, high-throughput analysis, and web-enabled everything. Your newest instrumentation resolves the tiniest features from the smallest amounts of your most complicated samples. Your GB/hr data acquisition streams through a digital signal processor before it bounces off your hard drive and onto a distributed data sharing network. Dedicated web servers present complex reports on any web client in the network. To satisfy the regulatory authorities, your electronic data are sealed under a 21 CFR Part 11 compliant process.
But really all you wanted was a piece of paper for the lab notebook.
We at BioAnalyte seek to reintroduce the paper trail back into the laboratory. That’s right! Your multi-million dollar high throughput lab will once again experience the charm of a piece of paper that “stickies” right into your lab notebook.
Thermal sticky printing for advanced mass spectrometry is a throw-back to the era of strip chart recorders — all of the utility, none of the cut-and-weigh.
If this sounds nostalgic, then all I can say is “groovy.” But does it sound useful? How would you use? Send us some encouraging words to firstname.lastname@example.org and become part of the beta test team.
As we like to say, “Your data. Your choice.”
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