ControlTek Visits SLAS 2014 to Explore New Developments in Lab Technology


This past January ControlTek President Andy LaFrazia and our V.P. of marketing, Stacey LaFrazia Smith, headed south to San Diego to attend the 2014 Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) show to check out exciting new technological developments in laboratory and medical diagnostic equipment.

While it doesn’t require a lot of convincing to leave the Pacific Northwest in January, the SLAS show is another great incentive to get to San Diego. SLAS is the #1 event for those working in Laboratory Automation and Screening, bringing in thousands of scientists, researchers, and academics each year. The event includes plenty of opportunities to learn about new diagnostics products and services and to engage in educational programs to learn about new industry technologies.

ControlTek is specifically interested in new developments in lab technology and automation for user interface design and equipment controls. The SLAS show delivered, with more than 40 different new lab products on display at the event. Many products featured new and interesting user interfaces and displays utilizing tablet and other surface devices to interface with an assortment of lab diagnostics and other scientific equipment.

Human to machine interface is an interesting area of development, and one that ControlTek has already begun to leverage on behalf of our customers. The visit to SLAS provided an excellent opportunity to learn more about the direction this technology is heading in coming years. User interface design can often be customized to handle a variety of inputs and can provide outputs to various devices or to the cloud, making it easier to control a machine both on-premises and remotely.

Electronic product design today is making interface input/output information easier, with more intuitive interactions often including touchscreen interfaces.

In addition to these, there were several other exciting new products from life science manufacturers on display. These included Microsonic Systems, a San Jose based manufacturer of life science sample preparation application equipment. The company has begun using a serrated Fresnel lens to mix and heat liquids in the lab. The new technology is capable of thawing, solubilizing, mixing and suspending drug discovery samples.

Lathrop Engineering from San Jose is also doing some interesting work designing automated lab systems. The company shared some of the differences in new product development and design for lab equipment that is used for patient diagnostics versus those utilized for strictly scientific research. Specifically, the additional requirements and regulations for medical device development and diagnostics.

A big thanks to all the companies who participated in this great event! All the new technologies that we are beginning to see available for medical and scientific companies are incredibly exciting and we know our team at ControlTek looks forward to seeing these in action for our customers in upcoming years.

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