(Virtual) Assistant In a Lab Coat: Atlanta-based HelixAI develops lab companion to complement Amazon’s Alexa
HelixAI is working to bring scientists a hands-free virtual assistant in the lab. The Helix voice assistant can help scientists to increase efficiency, improve lab safety, and gain visibility, according to the company website. The startup was created by husband-and-wife duo James and DeLacy Rhodes.
“James actually came to me and asked, what would you think about making a digital lab assistant, something that runs off Alexa devices but helps out in the lab,” DeLacy said. “Our goal was to get feedback from scientists and see if this was actually something they were interested in using in their laboratory spaces,” James said.
As a scientist, your hands will likely be occupied when conducting an experiment with chemicals and the like. Helix can access scientific reference information by a simple voice command. Key information, whether public, private, general or specific can also be customized to fit any specific needs, such as those of an individual lab or institution.
Scientific processes also normally require a protocol or repetition when conducting experiments. To avoid creating any new variables in the experimentation process, the testing from yesterday must be repeated in the exact same way. Helix can keep track of and add any protocols, SOPs, and solution recipes, thus helping to avoid any unwanted variables in an experiment. The program can also start where you last ended, even if it has been an extended period of time.
Timers and notifications can be set and sent to a mobile device–never experience an overflowing beaker again. “We work very closely with organizations to talk about their needs and identify the kind of content they would like to get through a digital assistant. Then we build up private skills that only those in their organization can get access to,” DeLacy said.
Helix may also be used to keep track of inventory, record notes during experiments, and manage various areas where custom content can be inserted.
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