SLAS 2024 Megapost

I don’t get to go this year, so I only get to live vicariously though everyone else. Would love to see some cool announcements or highlights posted here from those who are in attendance. Show me what you got!

To start off, I did see someone on LinkedIn enter into the acoustic dispensing space. Will we finally see someone put a good fight against Echo since the EDC has disappeared?

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I’m also not at SLAS and I also saw this acoustic dispense announcement on LinkedIn. Anybody else think this “A1 acoustic dispenser” instrument looks suspiciously like the ATS-100? I hope they do better than the ATS-100. I used a couple of them years back and they never were a proper competitor to the Echo.

I saw two of those dispensers on display and both look like empty boxes.

Definitely got the empty box impression as well and admittedly it’s very early stage for them. Some work to do before a product is there.

Looking forward to some validation data.

I chatted with the Trisonic group and they’re absolutely on the right track, I think the product is going to disrupt the Echo market in a very good way with units being priced under 100k…for smaller companies and smaller groups that cannot afford an Echo this seems like a decent solution (if/when the unit is proved out).

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Hi jnerc and kadams ! thanks for the feedback, as the lead designer of the A1 I would love to know in what way it looks like the ATS-100 since I’ve never seen one in the flesh. I have “googled” ATS-100 to find out what it looks like but the photos are limited so it’s hard to get a feeling for how it looks. Oh, also… “looks suspiciously like” … or just “looks like”… not sure what the former means :wink: At SLAS we laid our cards on the table and said to everyone we are 12m away from a product and we just brought what we have at this time to gauge interest… we brought 1 empty shell to show the size/form factor and one full prototype that works but is really just a “pretty prototype” that could equally look really bad and would not see the light of day, ever, if it was not for our team really wanting to start engaging with the community early as possible. Best wishes, kind regards and keep the feedback coming… I welcome it even if it’s -ve :wink:

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Hi mnewsom!

Yes, one was an empty box… and we made that very clear :wink: It was there to show the size only.

The second, on the Trisonic booth, was not empty … far from it. We also laid our cards on the table and said it is an early, pretty, prototype that has done ADE. It is not “catalogue engineering” so it might look minimal because it does not have a lot of 3rd party parts in it… instead, designed from the ground up with our own axes built on Maxon and IKO rails, motion controllers using our own FPGA solution, own 400V SiC RF power stage controlled from another FPGA Cyclone V SoC solution… bare metal C++ RTOS solution… I could go on :wink: As the lead eng… I know the IP that we have :wink: Watch this space :wink:

Mike

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And you know what, that’s badass. If this is the kind of hardware that folks want, they need to start investing in and supporting the groups that are trying to realize them. I am too often in spaces with VC folks or bio cofounders who ask me why this sort of specific hardware product doesn’t exist and I ask back, “well would you fund it?” And the moment I sense any hesitation in their voice I interrupt with, “That’s exactly why this hardware product doesn’t exist yet.”

Hardware is more brutal than software or biotech when it comes to funding and that needs to change.

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TLDR; Off the cuff endorsement of a killer product coming soon.

The Steampunk Echo 100% was the most talked about device of the event (amongst gear heads) Crawling the floor every time I saw someone we both kept stumbling over ourselves saying`

“Did you see the little Echo?”

They were pretty upfront on the prototype status of it as well. They’re just gonna clean up house for new product award next year though when ideally they start selling it. Total disruption

Did ya’ll see the software too? Same chrome interface as the d2 which I’m super about. Likewise that driver is super easy to extend and integrate to larger systems with their provided .dlls

Gonna be insane yet impossible to track to see how much more productive/efficient small starts-up in the area will be in 2025-26.

Fanboy here. :+1:

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Oh yeah Mike - didn’t mean to come off as throwing shade. Definitely excited for the product and I want to get my hands on it. Wasn’t trying to be negative, just a comment that it’s still very early days.

I agree you guys were really upfront with the state of the product and how fast you went from idea to prototype. SLAS2024 was a great place to reveal / drum up future interest!

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Thanks Matt, I really appreciate the comments. Keep in touch and would be nice to get you a loaner unit to you for testing at some stage if we have the spare bandwidth.
Best
M

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Thanks Sam! Love it!!

Hey Mike! When I said “looks suspiciously like” I thought maybe you guys just bought the rights to the ATS-100 and we rebooting it. Which would likely be a disappointment for everyone. So really glad to hear this is a ground-up instrument. And also good to hear that you haven’t seen an ATS-100 in the flesh, better to not tarnish your engineering with the past.

From my, admittedly poor, memory. The ATS failed mostly due to the way that EDC measured DMSO concentration. I was under the impression that at the time Labcyte had a patent on how they measured DMSO percentage and that was a big driver for the Echo’s success. I could be totally wrong, so correct me if I am. :slight_smile:

Are you guys aiming for DMSO dispenses? Aqueous dispenses? Both? All liquids?

I think the other thing that added to the ATS being a failure was the customizability that EDC allowed. They didn’t stick to one droplet size or one plate type. They could customize it for any droplet size you wanted and had a list of at least 10 384-well flat bottom plates. Compare this is the Echo which had 2 plate types at release (more later) and a single droplet size (2.5nL). Labcyte has since added to both of those, but it was years after the initial product was released. So again, curious what your plans are with regards to those.

Hi John,

Thanks for the info and feedback, this is really great to know.

Initially we will shoot for low hanging fruit in terms of features and also the regions that are free to operate in patent terms. There are quite a lot of variables and unknowns and since we are still at the early patent stage I can’t say if we’re fixed drop or variable drop… we’ve not even nailed down a min droplet size yet. Initially, however, I feel we’ll just be fixed drop as it will be simpler.

We will be making sure the hardware is as capable as we can so that we can roll our new features by an OTA firmware update… this is key for us…

We’ll shoot for DMSO + aqueous support.

Regarding plate types, we are hoping to allow a lot of flexibility on the source plate type. Our thinking is that if someone requires the tightest CV and accuracy then they use a certain plate type… if they can work with cheaper plates and the issues that might arise then they are free to try… some plates could have witness marks that cause some wells to be unusable… I can imagine config based on the plate die to skip these … 1536w - 10w with cheaper plate could be usable for some users…

Please keep the thoughts/input/warnings/suggestions coming… it will help us to provide you folks what you need

Mike

My only suggestion would be to keep it simple at first. Find that niche that you can do really well and then prove that you can do it really well. I think where the ATS failed was that for every customer that was happy and had a working setup there were 5 others that didn’t have a fully working setup.

I’d love to have an Echo integrated on our workcell, but just can’t justify the cost vs the benefit. A strong competitor to the Echo would benefit everybody (including Labcyte/Beckman).

BTW, anyone know how Labcyte support is these days? Even before COVID they were short on service engineers. I heard Bill left years ago, he was the only engineer that ever came to service our Echos.

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I know some Labcyte people went on to Lab-Machines including Bill, Ed, and Adam.

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My only ask is you make it easy to integrate :grin:

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for those who missed SLAS - are there any other things people found exciting?

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We will.
Follow us on LI for updates also:- Trisonic Discovery | LinkedIn

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The Trisonic acoustic dispenser was a big deal.

I also liked the c5 robot that Brooks had at their booth. It rotates so there is not a “back” that has less robot access. It is not as big as the DD4 they released a couple years ago, so for smaller spaces it is nice. As a former user of Agilent/V11’s DDR robot, I am excited for the possibilities of the c5.

Hamilton and Biosero had small XPlanar magnetic levitation systems from Beckhoff integrated to their demo systems. Hamilton had a Vantage with a custom extended rail so the pipetting head could access plates and tip boxes on the XPlanar. It’s a neat idea for getting labware into the liquid handler. Biosero had an interesting take where they mounted a multichannel reagent dispenser over an XPlanar and used it to dispense to plates. Then there is no robot move step from the XPlanar to a dispenser.

Hamilton was showing their channel mounted fluorescence plate reader - FluorEye. It’s an interesting idea, but time will tell if it is good in practice.

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