• Steve McCoy

Video: Hands-free Animal Data Collection with Virtual Assistants

Over the next several weeks, we’ll be promoting video examples of our scientific virtual assistants in action. In this post, we’ll focus on a common use case: what’s the best way to capture data when working animal subjects?

This video focuses on a common scenario we find with animal studies: capturing measurements, observations, and other data points in a safe, efficient manner.

Let’s start by discussing how some of our users previously approached logging data. While one person handled the subject, they had a colleague stand nearby, manually entering in fields such as animal weight, sex, and other details. That second colleague is a human robot, only doing the job because there wasn’t a better alternative. This - obviously - is a resource-intensive approach.

The alternative is arguably worse. Each scientist would be left to fend for themselves, completely responsible for both the data capture and studying the animal. The risk of contamination is much higher, as that person is now alternating between touching the keyboard or pen and the subject. To minimize these safety risks, “many scientists go through gloves like water,” to quote one customer, a tedious way of capture notes that could double the length of the process.

This scenario is the exact situation for which scientific virtual assistants were built. LabVoice was created to replace the model of a two-scientist approach. It replaces the note-taker, allowing the scientist to focus on other tasks or responsibilities.

Furthermore, virtual assistants will eliminate human errors. The researcher is able to see the exact information the virtual assistant is capturing as it is displayed on the device screen. This removes the inaccuracies of relying on handwriting. When connected to a data management tool, such as an ELN or LIMS, the need to re-enter data at a later time is eliminated, making the process faster. Scientists don’t have to recall any deviations or notes hours after they performed the experiment; the system is now updated in real time.

For those who are interested, the LabVoice platform offers a number of unique features that further improve the user experience, data integrity, and efficiency.

In many cases, scientists are already partially along their digitalization journey, and may be using connected calipers or balances to capture measurements. In that case, LabVoice is easily integrated with those systems, and then will only rely upon the scientists to relay the details not captured by those tools. You can think of it as a gap-filler.

For lab techs, contractors, and researchers new to the process, LabVoice provides even more guidance than depicted in the video. It instructs the user to move through each subject in the format that the study designer requires, introducing a new form of compliance. As in the video, inaudible instructions can be relayed, providing a mentor to the trainee when they have a question.

Alternatively, people who are comfortable with the workflow can capture data in whatever fashion they like. The assistant’s pauses and beeps can be removed, making it feel faster.

Animal research is primed for scientific virtual assistants, as they will almost always improve efficiency, data quality, compliance, and safety.

Interested in seeing your own solution prep instructions turned into a labflow? Reach out to us at!

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