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ITMO University teaches robots assist with chemical experiments


Researchers with St. Petersburg’s ITMO University are developing robots that will be able to work in chemical laboratories and perform routine operations unassisted. The first prototypes have been taught to move test tubes and remove covers.

The researchers believe that in future robot chemists will be able to conduct full-scale experiments.

Artemy Zenkin, engineer, ITMO University, tells: ‘Our target is to teach robots conduct various experiments in chemical laboratories. Often, these procedures involve making the same mixtures and solutions with precise dosing of components dozens and hundred times.’

At present, the engineers are making a robot that can move samples, define the concentration of reagents, and record and analyze the result. As a basis, they use a neural network platform that will allow the artificial intellect to learn in the process of dealing with reagents.

Another robot is being taught to make mixtures and solutions from chemical reagents. For the time being, the simplest actions are practiced. The electronic lab assistant has learnt to move test tubes and remove covers.

The manipulators are 3D-printed. This technology allows of making a large number of copies even for small laboratories.

Photo: ITMO University press office