A new generation in Imaging

Over the last decade Bio-Rad and Cobalt have collaborated on a range of innovative scientific instruments and devices, such as the ChemiDoc Imaging System.

The latest and most progressive product is the GelDoc Go; a new digital imaging instrument used for nucleic acid and protein analysis, designed for ease of use, safety and efficiency from the outset. Its  bench top size and rapid processing speed combined with unique client developed imaging technology, allows researchers to see separated proteins in one minute, compared with 4-16 hour staining steps of competitor products.

All parts of the system – hardware, software and consumables – were designed to link together harmoniously and intuitively. The flush glass of the 10 inch touch screen acts as a portal to a future connected system of Bio-Rad products and support systems, and its ease of use is driven by an IoT platform, cloud-based image acquisition and slide out Smart Tray system that triggers preset operations, such as the identification of sample types as they are loaded, without the user having to request them.

DESIGN OBJECTIVES

  • Disruptive: Shift user-expectations to an imager being a powerful and personal research tool
  • Small footprint; Large and accessible sample area
  • Smart packaging; Fit optics, complex light paths and electronics.
  • Human factors; Screen’s size and angle suited a wide range of users
  • Fresh aesthetic; Approachable yet purposeful stance conveying performance and innovation

COMMERCIAL IMPACT

  • Environmentally cleaner & lower operating cost via digital imaging v. traditional chemical stains and reagents
  • Quantum improvement via patented optical technology, especially in low light quantitative analysis.
  • Better productivity, accuracy and reliability
  • Cap-Ex recovery < 6 months (typical)
  • Extends Bio-Rad sales across broader clinical and life science research spectrums.
  • Virtual Image LabTouch Demo highly effective sales tool.

FOCUS AREAS

  • Industrial Design
  • Surface engineering
  • Product Engineering
  • Visual Prototyping
  • Animation and product visualisation
  • Web page design and interactive demonstrators
  • Andrew Fanning
  • Nat Hunt
  • Marcus Krigsman
  • Graeme Marshall
  • Justin Yuan
  • Mark Matthews Fredericks
  • Craig Burton
  • Jack Magree (Project Leader)

Inside Out. Outside In.

The crucial design impact for GelDoc Go was to convey the product as easy to use and thereby increase the utilisation and prevalence of the product in the lab environment.  The design achieves this by identifying the key functional external surfaces of the product – interface glass, drawer and upper mat – and linking the sculptural surfaces that connect them. The overall form and design harness the dominant planar surfaces by connecting them with controlled accelerating curvature and crisp edges.

The competing spatial demands of the internals were initially put aside to establish a configuration which best met ‘ease of use’ criteria and the field of view required. This approach was a challenge for the design team, but ultimately ensured that the instrument’s form and character had the right balance of an approachable stance, reliable performance and a fresh aesthetic identity that also maintained visual cues to link with the range of other Bio-Rad Imager products.

Another unique challenge of the interface design was ensuring the screen’s size and angle suited a maximum range of users, whist giving clear visibility and hand access to adjust gels in the sample drawer. The solution is a cleverly designed forward leaning drawer front. The drawer’s angle is also a repeating signature feature of GelDoc Go visual identity and expresses its ‘ready for action’ poise.

At the heart of the GelDoc Go’s speed is the ‘QuickSight’ CMOS camera developed by Bio-Rad, which provides the high resolution and sensitivity required for this level of life sciences analysis. To further ensure user safety, Cobalt designed a compact UV shield accessory to block the UV light emitted during open drawer mode illumination. Leveling feet at the base of the instrument to mitigate against wet samples pouring off a non-flat sample surface.

Visual Demonstrator

To compliment the user experience, Cobalt also created virtual interactive demonstrators for the GelDoc Go launch site. These enable potential users to tour the product features in a 3D environment, as well as demonstrate Bio-Rad’s Image Lab Touch software within a simulated GUI.

Within the virtual product tour, the user is able to scroll back and forth between pre-rendered key frames, unveiling animated components of the instrument with interesting, dynamic motion. Within the Image Lab Touch Demo, Cobalt re-created a representation of Bio-Rad’s proprietary software, tailored to focus on particular imaging workflows that enable customers to trial the interface, while providing an effective tool for sales representatives.

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