Thursday, November 4, 2010

HyperCyt and Python Scripts

Today we had a long day in the robotic room. Yesterday Arik from Neotec came to calibrate the find details of the liquid handling arms on the Tecan which solves some issues we encountered on Tuesday.

Today Shai, who is responsible for "smart" robotic application came. We had a general discussion about different ways of integrating software to the robot controlling software. Afterward he, Avital and Assaf sat down and implement some pythons scripts that call the robot and others that the robot can call.

It seemed that this was very fast pace study as they reported success, and managed to fancy pipetting procedures on the fly.

In the meantime, Ariel and Jenia tried to get the HyperCyt to work in the new location. We decided to move the peristaltic pump onto the hypercyt deck. This however resulted in the arm pushing the pump off when the device was initialized. This was annoying, especially since the pictures of the device showed the pump sitting exactly where we put it. 

We searched the manual high and low, and finally realized that one of the figures mentions an L-shaped piece that serves as a stopper in such a configuration.  We used this as evidence that this is the right solution and installed the stopper, which indeed solved the problem.

However, now the coordinates of the arm were totally off. And so we learned how to "teach" it where the different locations are. This involved moving the tip of the needle very slowly with mouse controls until it was in the right location.

In the end the system was working, and we even managed to film it. As you can see the sampling needle goes into each well in succession. This means that it creates alternating bubbles of media (+ cells) and air in the tube. If you look carefully in the movie you can see these tubes.

After lunch break and group meeting Jenia run his nifty analysis software to break the long FACs stream of events to specific wells. It worked like a charm and immediately gave him detailed summary of each well. The investment in this software was definitely worth while.

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