BIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS SYSTEM AND METHODS
A system for biological analysis includes a housing, a block assembly within the housing having a sample block and a baseplate, a heated cover and a cover carrier. The sample block receives a sample holder comprising an RFID tag. A first drive mechanism generates relative movement between the sample block and the baseplate along a first axis. A second drive mechanism generates relative movement between the heated cover and the cover carrier along a second axis that is different from the first axis. Based on a first command the first drive mechanism releasably engages the sample block and operates the second drive mechanism to releasably engage the heated cover with the cover carrier. The system also includes first and second RFID antennas that receive RFID data from the sample holder RFID tag that is read by at least one RFID reader.
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The present disclosure relates broadly, but not exclusively, to biological analysis systems and related methods, including polymerase chain reaction (PCR) systems.BACKGROUND
Biological analysis systems, such as PCR systems, are useful tools for conducting diagnostics and research in biological or biochemical samples. A PCR system typically has a thermal cycler that heats and cools the samples over a number of cycles to achieve the desired amplification of one or more target molecules. Real-time PCR systems, also known as qualitative PCR (qPCR) systems allow monitoring of a PCR assay during each thermal cycle of the process.
Generally, there is an increasing need to simplify the installation and setup of biological analysis systems so that operators can more quickly and efficiently use biological analysis systems for their intended purpose. However, existing systems typically require manual operation or intervention which may result in inefficiency and inconsistency.
Thus, it is desirable to provide a biological analysis system that can address at least one of the above problems.
Embodiments of the present disclosure will be better understood and readily apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art from the following written description, by way of example only, and in conjunction with the drawings, in which:
To provide a more thorough understanding of the present disclosure, the following description sets forth numerous specific details, such as specific configurations, parameters, examples, and the like. It should be recognized, however, that such description is not intended as a limitation on the scope of the present invention, but is intended to provide a better description of the exemplary embodiments.
It should also be recognized that the methods and systems described herein may be implemented in various types of systems, instruments, and machines such as biological analysis systems. For example, various embodiments may be implemented in an instrument, system or machine that performs polymerase chain reactions (PCR) on a plurality of samples. While generally applicable to quantitative polymerase chain reactions (qPCR) where a large number of samples are being processed, it should be recognized that any suitable PCR method may be used in accordance with various embodiments described herein. Suitable PCR methods include, but are not limited to, digital PCR, allele-specific PCR, asymmetric PCR, ligation-mediated PCR, multiplex PCR, nested PCR, qPCR, genome walking, and bridge PCR, for example. Furthermore, as used herein, thermal cycling may include using a thermal cycler, isothermal amplification, thermal convection, infrared mediated thermal cycling, or helicase dependent amplification.
The term “radio frequency identifier”, “radio frequency identifier tag”, or “RFID tag” as used herein may refer to a chip comprising an integrated circuit and an antenna. The integrated circuitry may store data that can be communicated by a radio frequency transmitted by the antenna. The integrated circuit and antenna circuitry may be printed on the chip. An RFID “tag” or “transponder” can be read by an RFID reader using an antenna that emits radio frequencies to query the transponder. A “passive RFID” does not have its own energy source, but responds to signals from a reader to transmit a signal. An “active RFID” includes a battery as a power source. Some examples of RFID tags can be found in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,147,662; 6,917,291; 5,949,049; 6,652,812; 6,112,152; and U.S. Pat. Application No. 2003/0183683 all of which are herein incorporated by reference in their entireties for their disclosure of RFID tags, chips, labels, or devices, RFID readers, and RFID systems, their design and use. A “writable radio frequency identifier” or “writable RFID” is an RFID tag that has memory space that can be written to by an RFID writer.
The term “sample holder” as used herein may refer to a structure for directly or indirectly supporting one or more reaction sites, each configured to contain a biological sample and any associated reagents, dyes, probes, detergents, enzymes, master mixes, or the like. Examples of sample holders include, but are not limited to, reaction plates, tubes, tube carriers, surface plasmon resonance arrays, slides, conical low-volume tubes, microfluidic cards, microarray chips, plates or cartridges, through-hole arrays, sample preparation devices, assay preparation devices, electrophoretic type device, electroosmotic type devices, immunoassays, combinatorial libraries, molecular libraries, phage display libraries, DNA libraries, DNA fingerprinting devices, SNP detection devices, vacuum containers, and other types of containers for supporting biological reagents or assays. The sample holder can be a multi-well tray or microtiter plate including, for example, 4, 12, 24, 48, 96, 192, 384, 768, 1536, 3072, 6144, 12288, or more wells or sample retainment regions. The sample holder can retain a fluid, if the sample holder can be utilized to transfer, contain, encompass, or otherwise hold, permanently or temporarily, a fluid. The sample holder material can comprise any materials used in chemical and biochemical synthesis. The sample holder material can comprise polymeric materials that are compatible with chemical and biological syntheses and assays, and include glasses, silicates, celluloses, polystyrenes, polysaccharides, sand, and synthetic resins and polymers, including acrylamides, particularly cross-linked polymers, cotton, and other such materials. The sample holder material can be in the form of particles or can be continuous in design, such as a test tube or microtiter plate or the like.
As used herein, the terms “communication”, “electrical communication”, or “electronic communication” generally means communication between two or more electronic components (e.g., electronic devices or electronic systems). The communication may be achieved via a physical connection between (e.g., an electrical wire, an electrical cable, fiber optic cable, or the like connected to both two electronic components or via a third electronic component to which first and second communicating components are commonly connected, for example, a network system such as a Local Area Network (LAN), or a wide area network (WAN), or the like). Additionally or alternatively, the electrical communication may be via a transmitter/receiver configuration, for example, a direct wireless communication between the devices (e.g., between antennas in two communicating components, a Bluetooth connection, and/or the like) or via wireless network (e.g., a wireless router system, Wi-Fi connection, or wireless data communication system, such as provided by a telecommunications provider). The electrical communication may additionally or alternatively be provided via communication of the device to a common database, such as a Cloud database.System Overview
As mentioned above, an instrument according to embodiments of the present teaching may be utilized to perform various types of biological assays, experiments, tests, or the like. In the current disclosure, embodiments of an instrument for use in conducting polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays are illustrated using a microtiter plate. However, embodiments of the present teaching extend to other types of instruments (e.g. capillary electrophoresis instruments, sequencing instruments, such as Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) instruments, microarray systems, flow cytometers, and the like), sample holders (e.g., as discussed above herein), and assays such (e.g., capillary electrophoresis, genetic sequencing, genotyping, and the like).
Real-time PCR instrument 100 has an optical system 124. In
Methods in accordance with embodiments described herein may be implemented using a computer system.
Those skilled in the art will recognize that the operations of the various embodiments may be implemented using hardware, software, firmware, or combinations thereof, as appropriate. For example, some processes can be carried out using processors or other digital circuitry under the control of software, firmware, or hard-wired logic. (The term “logic” herein refers to fixed hardware, programmable logic and/or an appropriate combination thereof, as would be recognized by one skilled in the art to carry out the recited functions.) Software and firmware can be stored on non-transitory computer-readable media. Some other processes can be implemented using analog circuitry, as is well known to one of ordinary skill in the art. Additionally, memory or other storage, as well as communication components, may be employed in embodiments of the invention.
Further, it should be appreciated that a computing system 200 of
Computing system 200 may include bus 202 or other communication mechanism for communicating information, and processor 204 coupled with bus 202 for processing information.
Computing system 200 also includes a memory 206, which can be a random access memory (RAM) or other dynamic memory, coupled to bus 202 for storing instructions to be executed by processor 204. Memory 206 also may be used for storing temporary variables or other intermediate information during execution of instructions to be executed by processor 204. Computing system 200 further includes a read only memory (ROM) 208 or other static storage device coupled to bus 202 for storing static information and instructions for processor 204.
Computing system 200 may also include a storage device 210, such as a magnetic disk, optical disk, or solid state drive (SSD) is provided and coupled to bus 202 for storing information and instructions. Storage device 210 may include a media drive and a removable storage interface. A media drive may include a drive or other mechanism to support fixed or removable storage media, such as a hard disk drive, a floppy disk drive, a magnetic tape drive, an optical disk drive, a CD or DVD drive (R or RW), flash drive, or other removable or fixed media drive. As these examples illustrate, the storage media may include a computer-readable storage medium having stored therein particular computer software, instructions, or data.
In alternative embodiments, storage device 210 may include other similar instrumentalities for allowing computer programs or other instructions or data to be loaded into computing system 200. Such instrumentalities may include, for example, a removable storage unit and an interface, such as a program cartridge and cartridge interface, a removable memory (for example, a flash memory or other removable memory module) and memory slot, and other removable storage units and interfaces that allow software and data to be transferred from the storage device 210 to computing system 200.
Computing system 200 can also include a communications interface 218. Communications interface 218 can be used to allow software and data to be transferred between computing system 200 and external devices. Examples of communications interface 218 can include a modem, a network interface (such as an Ethernet or other NIC card), a communications port (such as for example, a USB port, a RS-232C serial port), a PCMCIA slot and card, Bluetooth, etc. Software and data transferred via communications interface 218 are in the form of signals that can be electronic, electromagnetic, optical or other signals capable of being received by communications interface 218. These signals may be transmitted and received by communications interface 218 via a channel such as a wireless medium, wire or cable, fiber optics, or other communications medium. Some examples of a channel include a phone line, a cellular phone link, an RF link, a network interface, a local or wide area network, and other communications channels.
Computing system 200 may be coupled via bus 202 to a display 212, such as a cathode ray tube (CRT) or liquid crystal display (LCD), for displaying information to a computer user. An input device 214, including alphanumeric and other keys, is coupled to bus 202 for communicating information and command selections to processor 204, for example. An input device may also be a display, such as an LCD display, configured with touchscreen input capabilities. Another type of user input device is cursor control 216, such as a mouse, a trackball or cursor direction keys for communicating direction information and command selections to processor 204 and for controlling cursor movement on display 212. This input device typically has two degrees of freedom in two axes, a first axis (e.g. x-axis) and a second axis (e.g. y-axis), that allows the device to specify positions in a plane. Computing system 200 provides data processing and provides a level of confidence for such data. Consistent with certain implementations of embodiments of the present teachings, data processing and confidence values are provided by computing system 200 in response to processor 204 executing one or more sequences of one or more instructions contained in memory 206. Such instructions may be read into memory 206 from another computer-readable medium, such as storage device 210. Execution of the sequences of instructions contained in memory 206 causes processor 204 to perform the process states described herein. Alternatively hard-wired circuitry may be used in place of or in combination with software instructions to implement embodiments of the present teachings. Thus implementations of embodiments of the present teachings are not limited to any specific combination of hardware circuitry and software.
The term “computer-readable medium” and “computer program product” as used herein generally refers to any media that is involved in providing one or more sequences or one or more instructions to processor 204 for execution. Such instructions, generally referred to as “computer program code” (which may be grouped in the form of computer programs or other groupings), when executed, enable the computing system 200 to perform features or functions of embodiments of the present invention. These and other forms of non-transitory computer-readable media may take many forms, including but not limited to, non-volatile media, volatile media, and transmission media. Non-volatile media includes, for example, solid state, optical or magnetic disks, such as storage device 210. Volatile media includes dynamic memory, such as memory 206. Transmission media includes coaxial cables, copper wire, and fiber optics, including the wires that comprise bus 202.
Common forms of computer-readable media include, for example, a floppy disk, a flexible disk, hard disk, magnetic tape, or any other magnetic medium, a CD-ROM, any other optical medium, punch cards, paper tape, any other physical medium with patterns of holes, a RAM, PROM, and EPROM, a FLASH-EPROM, any other memory chip or cartridge, a carrier wave as described hereinafter, or any other medium from which a computer can read.
Various forms of computer readable media may be involved in carrying one or more sequences of one or more instructions to processor 204 for execution. For example, the instructions may initially be carried on magnetic disk of a remote computer. The remote computer can load the instructions into its dynamic memory and send the instructions over a telephone line using a modem. A modem local to computing system 200 can receive the data on the telephone line and use an infra-red transmitter to convert the data to an infra-red signal. An infra-red detector coupled to bus 202 can receive the data carried in the infra-red signal and place the data on bus 202. Bus 202 carries the data to memory 206, from which processor 204 retrieves and executes the instructions. The instructions received by memory 206 may optionally be stored on storage device 210 either before or after execution by processor 204.
It will be appreciated that, for clarity purposes, the above description has described embodiments of the invention with reference to different functional units and processors. However, it will be apparent that any suitable distribution of functionality between different functional units, processors or domains may be used without detracting from the invention. For example, functionality illustrated to be performed by separate processors or controllers may be performed by the same processor or controller. Hence, references to specific functional units are only to be seen as references to suitable means for providing the described functionality, rather than indicative of a strict logical or physical structure or organization.
Still referring to
In certain embodiments, the sample block 302 may be located on or in a moveable base 308 configured to move or transport sample block 302 from a location inside the housing 1001 to a position suitable, for example along a horizontal axis as illustrated by the double arrow line in
With additional reference to
The sample holder 316 may additionally comprise a sample holder radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag 318 containing information or data regarding the sample holder 316, reagents, dyes, or other chemistry contained in or on the sample holder 316, history of sample holder use, assay parameters or instructions, and/or the like. In certain embodiments, the sample block 302 and/or sample holder 316 comprise a sensor 320 and/or 320' in communication with the sample holder RFID tag 318. Additionally or alternatively, the sensor 320' may be located on the thermal block 305.
As seen in
To further positionally secure the sample block 302 relative to the base and prevent dislodgement of the sample block 302 during operation, additional locking features are provided in the example embodiments as described above with reference to
As the cover carrier 710 is lowered, the bellow 708 extends, and as the cover carrier 710 is raised, the bellow 708 collapses. Bellow 708 provides an enclosure between the top of the cover carrier 710 and the optics module 700 so that when the cover carrier is in the extended, lowered position, the bellow 708 provides optical isolation from stay light from outside sources that might otherwise introduce noise at the optical sensor during an assay. Advantageously, the bellow 708 facilitates the disclosed configuration which allows the heavier sample block 302 to be translated in a horizontal axis for placement or exchange of the sample holder and/or sample block, while the lighter heated cover may be translated in an orthogonal axis for engagement in preparation for and during a run or assay using the system 1000. As seen in
With further reference to
With further reference to
In certain embodiments, lower plate 925 comprises at least two alignment pins 930, which are used to register or align a heated cover 800 to the lower plate. As discussed above, upper portions of align pins 802a, 802b are inserted into corresponding through-holes or cylinders of system 1000 to register or align the cover carrier 710 (more specifically the upper plate 920) to the system 1000 (e.g., to the optical assembly 700). Additionally or alternatively, alignment pins 802a, 802b are used to register or align a sample block 302 upper plate 920 and, as a consequence, to the system 1000. Lower plate 925 are used to adjust the alignment lenslet array of the heated cover 800 to the wells or reaction regions of a sample block 302, as discussed above. In this way, the pins 802a, 802b are used to approximately align the lenslet array to the wells or reaction regions of the sample block 302 and the adjustable lower plate is used to provide a more accurate or precise alignment of the lenslet array to the wells or reaction regions of the sample block 302.
The system according to the present teachings can perform automated operations to install and replace/remove the sample block 302 and heated cover 800 as necessary. Some examples are now described with reference to
In one example to install the sample block 302 and heated cover 800, the block assembly 300 is initially at the open position when a user initiates the installation sequence. Depending on the configuration, the heated cover 800 may already be placed onto the sample block 302 beforehand, or they can be put together in situ. Alignment features can help to position the heated cover 800 correctly relative to the sample block 302. One or more sensors may also be used to determine the presence and/or orientation of the heated cover 800 on top of the sample block 302. The sample block 302 together with the heated cover 800 thereon is then placed into the carrier, base, or tray 306 of the block assembly 300.
It will be appreciated that the above steps can be performed by a human operator, or alternatively, by an articulated arm. In the latter case, the articulated arm may be remotely controlled by a human operator or may be programmed to perform the tasks autonomously.
Once the system can confirm the presence of the sample block 302 and heated cover 800, the remaining steps of the installation sequence can be carried out automatically. For example, the drive mechanism 402 (see
While the sample block 302 is held in position, the drive mechanism 502 (see
After the engagement is completed, the drive mechanism 712 moves the cover carrier 710 in engagement with heated cover 800 to a raised position, ready for deployment. For example, the operator may start a PCR experiment, and the block assembly 300 may be extended to the open position for loading a sample holder and then drawn to the closed position, before the cover carrier 710 is lowered to begin thermal cycling.
In another example to remove the sample block 302 and heated cover 800, the block assembly 300 may is initially at the closed position and the heated cover 800 is at the raised position when the operator initiates the removal sequence. The system can automatically operate the drive mechanism 712 to lower the heated cover 800 onto the sample block 302. Once the heated cover 800 is detected to be on top of the sample block 302, the gripper arms 808a, 808b open to release the heated cover 800. In addition, the drive mechanism 810 (see
Separately, the drive mechanism 502 automatically causes the first and second connector members 504, 506 to disengage from each other, and lock members 310, 312 to dislodge from each other. Accordingly, the sample block 302, having the heated cover 800 on top, is disengaged from the movable base 308, and the drive mechanism 402 can move the sample block 302 to the open position where both the sample block 302 and heated cover 800 can be retrieved/removed, for example, by a human operator or an articulated arm.
As seen in
In addition to the block assembly 300, optics assembly 700 and cover carrier 710 as described above, the system 1000 also includes a back chassis assembly 1002 which can provide electrical and thermal management for the system 1000. As illustrated in
The front housing 1012 also include a drawer face 1014 and a door face 1015 disposed above the drawer face. During operation, the drawer face moves forward when the block assembly moves from the closed position to the open position. If only a sample holder 316 is to be inserted or exchanged, the door face 1015 remains stationary. If the sample block 302 and/or the heated cover 800 are being exchanged, the drawer face 1014 moves forward and the door face 1015 is flipped open from the top to allow passage of the heated cover 800. Alternatively, the door face 1015 may be raised up and/or retracted into the system 1000 during this operation to allow passage of the heated cover 800. As a safety or precautionary feature, the door face 1015 may be configured to move to an open position (e.g., flipped or raised) during start up of the system 1000. This preclude possible damage to the system 1000 if, for example, the block assembly 300 was in an open position during the most recent power down (either intentionally or accidentally, for example due to a power failure). In this case, no damage to the door face 1015 would occur during retraction of the block assembly 300 back into the housing 1001 to a closed position during or after start up of the system, since the door face 1015 would be opened or retracted.
The front housing 1012 includes several input/output features. A display screen 1016 capable of receiving touch input is mounted on the front housing 1012. In one implementation, the front housing 1012 comprises an image system 1017 comprising one or more cameras that may be configured to detect or identify the face of a perspective user of the system 1000. The image system 1017 may be configured to provide or produce one or more outputs if one or more predetermined criteria are met, for example, if the face of the perspective user matches that stored data of individuals authorized of use the system 1000 and/or have access to certain capabilities of the instrument or information stored in the system 1000 or in a database to which the system 1000 has access. In certain embodiments, the image system 1017 may comprise a 3-dimensional (3D) camera module 1017. The 3D camera module 1017 is capable of detecting facial expressions and body gestures, and may be equipped with facial recognition software to automatically recognise a face of a registered user. Additionally or alternatively, the image system 1017 may be located at other locations, such as in or one a top or side panel of the system 1000.
Alternatively or in addition, the system 1000 may comprise voice system 1018 comprising one or more microphones 1018, for example, mounted on the front housing 1012. The voice system 1018 may be equipped with voice recognition software to automatically recognise voice instructions from a registered user.
The system 1000 and/or the front housing 1012 may also have a proximity sensor 1020 to detect an object or individual, e.g. a user, at a predetermined distance to turn on the 3D camera module 1017 and activate the microphones 1018. The proximity sensor may by any of the proximity sensors, probe, or device known in the art. Accordingly, in some example embodiments, it is possible to operate the system 100 in hand-free mode, e.g. by a voice command or body gesture. In certain embodiments, an output from the proximity sensor 1012 may be used enable the imaging system 1017 and/or the voice system 1018. The proximity sensor 1012 may be utilized in an environment in which two or more instruments 1000 are located in the same in a laboratory or room. Additionally or alternatively, the output from the proximity sensor 1020 may be used to determine whether output from the imaging system 1017 and/or the voice system 1018 will be utilized for starting, powering up, or activating the system 1000 and/or allow access to certain capabilities of the instrument or information stored in the system 1000 or in a database to which the system 1000 has access.
In this manner, it may be determined which system 1000 a user having access to the two or more instruments 1000 is to respond to a voice command or a face recognition signal. For example, if the user provides a voice command to activate or start one of the instruments 1000, or to implement some function of the system 1000, only the system 1000 to which the user is in closest proximity will respond. In certain embodiments, several authorized uses may be in the same laboratory or room, and each system 1000 will respond to each user in accordance to their proximity to a respective one of the instruments. It is anticipated that such capabilities may be utilized in other types of biological analysis instruments or non-biological analysis instruments having capabilities and features different from those disclosed herein, but having a proximity sensor 1020 according to the embodiments discussed herein used in the manner just described.
A pair of speakers 1022 may also be mounted to the front housing 1012 to provide audio updates, warnings, etc. such that a human operator does not need to regularly look at the display screen 1016.
The system 1000 may also include several features to further enhance performance. With reference to
The system 1000 according to the present teachings is also capable of both detecting a presence of a sample holder on the sample block 302, and reading relevant information about the sample holder. For example, as the cover carrier 710 is lowered together with the heated cover 800 onto the sample block 302 before an experiment run, the actual height of the heated cover 800 is monitored via feedback from one or more encoders. The height of the heated cover 800 is greater when the sample holder is present than when the sample holder is absence, due to the thickness of the sample holder. Accordingly, the presence or absence of the sample holder can then be determined. In certain embodiments, one or more such encoders may be used to distinguish between different types and/or brands of sample holder has been located within the sample block 302 based on differences in thickness between different types or brands. Similarly, the encoder(s) may be used to determine whether a correct or preferred sample holder has been located within the sample block 302.
After the run, the RFID writers/readers 1202a, 1202b can write information onto the sample holder RFID tag to mark the sample holder as used which can prevent the sample holder from being re-run. The information can also be transmitted to a remote location, e.g. for inventory control and procurement purposes. The 2 readers also allow detection of the orientation of the sample holder. If a user place does not place the sample holder in normal orientation, system software can account for the angular offset for display and analysis.
The method 1300 may be used in conjunction with the sample holder RFID tag and/or reagent container RFID tag, for example, the sample holder RFID tag 318 and/or reagent container RFID tag 1032. When no reagent container RFID tag is present or being utilized, the method 1300 includes an element 1310 comprising placing a sample holder (e.g., sample holder 316) into or onto a biological analysis system (e.g., system 1000) and an element 1320 comprising receiving from a user an initial user input to initiate an assay. In some embodiments, the initial input from the user may also initiate transport and/or positioning of a sample holder, as discussed above herein regarding movement of sample block 302/ thermal block 305 after placement of a sample holder into carrier, base, or tray 306.
The method 1300 also includes an element 1330 comprising reading at least some of the RFID data using one or more antennas associated with the sample holder RFID tag, for example, one or both RFID antennas 1200a, 1200b. The method 1300 further includes element 1340 comprising generating instructions to perform an assay based at least in part on the read RFID data. After receiving the initial user input, the method 1300 additionally includes an element 1350 comprising executing a set of steps to perform an assay on the sample holder without any further input or intervention from the user until the assay is completed. The set of steps may comprise or be provided by a protocol, which may be configured at least in part from data contained on the sample holder RFID tag. Optionally, additional input to an assay protocol after the initial user input, for example, to further customize the protocol.
In certain embodiments of the method 1300, one or more reagent containers each have their own RFID tag may be included in the system 1000 (e.g., reagent container 1030 and reagent container RFID tag 1032). In such embodiments, the method 1300 may also include an element 1360 comprising reading information from the reagent container RFID tag for one or more of the reagent containers. The method 1300 then includes any or all of the elements 1310 to 1350..
Using the system 1000 as an example, the method 1400 includes an element 1410 comprising placing the sample holder 316 in or on the sample block 302. The method 1400 also comprises elements 1420 and 1430 comprising determining if RFID data from sample holder RFID tag 318 is being detected from either or both RFID antennas 1200a, 1200b. if no RFID data is received by either antenna 1200a, 1200b, the method 1400 includes element 1440 of generating either (1) producing or generating a signal indicative that the sample holder 316 does not contain an RFID tag or (2) producing or generating a signal indicative that no sample holder is present. If other means, either active or passive, are used for determining the presence of the sample holder 316, then the system would be configured to utilize the second option. Additionally or alternatively, the system may be configured to produce or generate an uncertainty signal if the possibility of a faulty RFID tag is suspected (e.g., based on an antenna signal that is ambiguous or if other means exists for validating the presence of an RFID tag on the sample holder).
Optionally, the method 1400 may include an element 1450 comprising, if RFI D data is received by one of the RFID antennas, then generating at least one of (1) a signal indicative that the sample holder 302 contains a sample holder RFID 318 or (2) a signal indicative of an orientation of the sample holder 316. In certain embodiments, the inventors have discovered that detection of the orientation is accomplished by configuring the antennas 1200a, 1200b, the sample holder 316, and the RFID tag 318 so that when the sample holder 316 is oriented as shown in
The inventors have discovered that there is an advantage in separating the antennas 1200a, 1200b from the RFID devices 1202a, 1202b. In certain embodiments, communication between antennas 1200a, 1200b and RFID devices 1202a, 1202b is provided by a wire between each antenna and the corresponding RFID device. By separating in this way, the inventors have found that the relatively small antennas 1200a, 1200b (compared to devices 1202a, 1202b) can be placed above the sample holder 316 and/or sample block 302 so that a relatively week signal from RFID tag can be received by the antenna that is closer to the RFID tag.
Optionally, the method 1400 may include an element 1460 comprising, if RFID data is received by both of the RFID antennas 1200a, 1200b, than generating (1) a signal indicative that the sample holder 316 contains two sample holder RFID tags 318 or (2) a signal indicative that two sample holders 316with sample the holder RFID tag 318 are present.
In certain embodiments, a method 1500 of using an instrument or system (e.g., the system 1000) comprises an element 1510 including querying an activation and/or recognition system to produce a first output, the activation and/or recognition system comprising one or more of a voice activation and/or recognition system or a face activation and/or recognition system. For example, the activation and/or recognition system may comprise the image system 1017 and/or the voice system 1018 discussed above herein.
The method 1500 further comprises an element 1520 including determining whether the first output meets one or more first predetermined criteria.
The method 1500 further comprises an element 1530 including querying a proximity sensor to produce a second output. For example, the proximity sensor may comprise the proximity sensor 1020 discussed above herein.
The method 1500 further comprises an element 1540 including determining whether the second output meets one or more second predetermined criteria.
The method 1500 further comprises an element 1550 including starting, powering up, activating, or otherwise using a capability or data of the instrument if both (1) the first output meets the one or more first predetermined criteria and (2) the second output meets one or more second predetermined criteria.
In certain embodiments, the method 1500 of using the instrument comprise a method of starting, powering up, or activating the instrument and/or a method of utilizing or initiating certain capabilities of the instrument or of utilizing or granting access to information stored in the system or in a database to which the instrument has access.
It will be appreciated by a person skilled in the art that numerous variations and/or modifications may be made to the present disclosure as shown in the specific embodiments without departing from the scope of the present disclosure as broadly described. The present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects to be illustrative and not restrictive.
103. A biological analysis system comprising:
- a housing;
- a sample block disposed within the housing and configured to receive a sample holder comprising a sample holder RFID tag;
- a first RFID antenna configured during use to receive RFID data from the sample holder RFID tag; and
- an RFID reader configured to receive the RFID data from the first RFID antenna;
- wherein the first RFID antenna is spatially separated from the RFID reader.
104. The biological analysis system as in claim 103, further comprising:
- a second RFID antenna, the second RFID antenna configured during use to receive the RFID data from the sample holder RFID tag;
- wherein the RFID reader is configured to receive the RFID data from the second RFID antenna.
105. The biological analysis system as in claim 104, further comprising at least one RFID writer configured to write data on the sample holder RFID tag.
106. The biological analysis system of claim 104, wherein the system comprises the sample holder and the sample holder RFID tag.
107. The biological analysis system as in claim 106, wherein:
- sample holder comprises a plurality of spatially separated reaction locations, each of the plurality of spatially separated reaction locations comprising a plurality of characteristics;
- the sample holder RFID tag includes RFID data comprising data for the plurality of characteristics each of the reaction location;
- wherein the RFID data comprises at least 8 kilobytes, at least 64 kilobytes, or at least 128 kilobytes.
108. The biological analysis system of claim 106, wherein the RFID writer is configured to write assay information generated during an assay onto the sample holder RFID tag.
109. The biological analysis system of claim 108, wherein the system is configured to use the assay information to analyze data obtained during the assay.
110. The biological analysis system of claim 106, wherein the plurality of characteristics comprises one or more of a:
- sample holder ID;
- sample holder expiration date;
- sample holder part number;
- sample holder barcode;
- sample holder lot number;
- sample holder type;
- sales order number;
- EDT file format;
- EDF file format; or internet links or addresses.
111. The biological analysis system of claim 106, wherein the plurality of characteristics comprises one or more of a:
- storage temperature and/or storage temperature range;
- sample concentration;
- sample concentration recommended range;
- assay name(s) and/or locations on sample holder;
- assay IDs;
- suggested protocol or required protocol;
- sample name;
- master mix name;
- master mix change;
- dye name;
- suggested or required filter or set of filters to be used during an assay on the sample holder;
- passive reference dye;
- reaction volume;
- target name;
- dye name;
- sample name;
- analysis settings;
- flag setting;
- sample type; or
- target type.
112. The biological analysis system of claim 106, wherein the plurality of characteristics comprises one or more of a:
- run protocol comprising one or more of a heated cover temperature, reaction volume, temperature step value, temperature stage value; or
- well information for one or more wells, the information including one or more of target name, dye name, or sample name; reagent name.
113. The biological analysis system of claim 106, wherein the RFID data on the sample holder RFID include re-writeable data comprising one or more of a:
- passive reference dye;
- reaction volume;
- target name;
- dye name;
- sample name;
- analysis settings;
- flag setting;
- sample type;
- target type;
- run protocol comprising one or more of a heated cover temperature, reaction volume, temperature step value, temperature stage value; or
- well information for one or more wells, the information including one or more of target name, dye name, or sample name; reagent name.
114. A method for performing a biological analysis using the biological analysis system of claim 104, the method comprising:
- placing the sample holder into or onto the biological analysis system;
- receiving from a user an initial user input to initiate an assay;
- reading at least some of the RFID data using the first RFID antenna;
- generating instructions to perform an assay based at least in part on the read RFID data;
- (1) after receiving the initial user input, executing a set of steps to perform an assay on the sample holder without any further input or intervention from the user until the assay is completed or (2) receiving additional input and then executing a set of steps to perform an assay on the sample holder without any further input or intervention from the user until the assay is completed.
115. The method as in claim 114, further comprising:
- providing a reagent container comprising a reagent container RFID tag;
- reading information from the reagent container RFID tag; and
- based at least in part on the information read from the reagent container RFID tag, generating the assay protocol.
116. A method for performing a biological analysis using the biological analysis system of claim 103, wherein the system comprises as second RFID antenna, the method further comprising:
- placing the sample holder in or on the sample block;
- verify whether at least one of the first RFID antenna or the second RFID antenna is(are) receiving RFID data or signal from the sample holder;
- performing at least one of: if no RFID data is received by either the first RFID antenna or the second RFID antenna, generating (1) a signal indicative that the sample holder does not contain an RFID tag and/or (2) a signal indicative that no sample holder is present; if RFID data is received by at least one of the RFID antennas, generating at least one of (1) a signal indicative that the sample holder contains a sample holder RFID tag and/or (2) a signal indicative of an orientation of the sample holder; and if RFID data is received by both of the RFID antennas, generating (1) a signal indicative that the sample holder contains two sample holder RFID tags and/or (2) a signal indicative that two sample holders with sample a holder RFID tag are present.
117. The biological analysis system as in claim 103, wherein an orientation of the sample holder is based on the strength of the data or signal from the RFID tag.
118. A biological analysis instrument comprising:
- a proximity sensor configured determine the presence or distance of a perspective user of the instrument;
- an activation and/or recognition system comprising at least one of a voice activation and/or recognition system or a face activation and/or recognition system;
- a processor and a memory coupled to the processor, the memory including instructions to: query the activation and/or recognition system to produce a first output; determine whether the first output meets one or more first predetermined criteria; query the proximity sensor to produce a second output; determine whether the second output meets one or more second predetermined criteria; and start, power up, or activate the instrument if both (1) the first output meets the one or more first predetermined criteria and (2) the second output meets one or more second predetermined criteria.
119. A method of starting, powering up, or activating the biological analysis instrument of claim 118, the method comprising:
- querying the activation and/or recognition system to produce the first output;
- determining whether the first output meets the one or more first predetermined criteria;
- querying a proximity sensor to produce a second output;
- determining whether the second output meets the one or more second predetermined criteria;
- starting, powering up, or activating the instrument if both (1) the first output meets the one or more first predetermined criteria and (2) the second output meets one or more second predetermined criteria.
Filed: Oct 14, 2022
Publication Date: Feb 2, 2023
Applicants: Life Technologies Holdings PTE Limited (Singapore), Life Technologies Corporation (Carlsbad, CA)
Inventors: Kuan Moon Boo (Singapore), Wei Fuh Teo (Singapore), Zeqi Tan (Singapore), Soo Yong Lau (Singapore), Ming Tiong Sia (Singapore), Woon Liang Soh (Singapore), Ching Yee Lam (Singapore), Shan Hua Dong (Singapore), Marc Haberstroh (San Jose, CA), Michael C. Pallas (San Bruno, CA), Hardeep Sangha (Union City, CA)
Application Number: 17/966,364