In the Spotlight: Elementa Labs

In the Spotlight: Elementa Labs

The voice assistant for your ELN

In the first ever installment of our partner spotlight series we interview Lirry Pinter, Co-founder and CTO of Elementa Labs, a company designing specialized voice assistant software for the laboratory industry.

Voice assistant technology is quickly becoming a norm in many households and industries. Think about the flexibility and convenience that Alexa’s, Siri’s and Google Assistants alike have brought to (some peoples) everyday lives. They are a staple part of the move to make houses “smart”: simply ask Alexa to turn on a light, or a specific song. Set timers for cooking or record shopping lists and notes. The use cases are endless, as are the possibilities when voice assistant technologies are brought into the laboratory.

Voice assistants like Elementa are especially suited to the laboratory environment and can be particularly useful when researchers are working with hazardous materials or in biosafety environments. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, COVID researchers were handling hundreds if not thousands of potentially infectious samples every day. When scientists work with biosafety hazards, they’re handling dangerous infectious material and so all actions must be controlled and standardized. All biohazardous materials must be very carefully documented, handled, and then disposed of to prevent exposure to infection. If a researcher brings in a paper protocol or a notebook into a high biosafety level laboratory, they cannot then leave the room with it, as it will have to be destroyed as biowaste. Notes taken can either be on the computer that stays in the room, or researchers simply have to remember all the details, which poses potential problems for compliance and replicability of research.

Speaking on how voice assistant technology can help in situations like these, Lirry Pinter highlights that laboratories are “the perfect place for a voice assistant, because everyday important work is conducted in them to cure diseases and make new medicines, but they’re incredibly fast-paced environments to work in. Asking researchers to make notes during very demanding experiments or asking them to recall all of the details to write down later, can be a very tedious process and frankly a little overwhelming for scientists”. Continuing, he emphasizes that “voice assistants will go a long way in streamlining the process of documenting research. By making note-taking hands-free, in a way which ensures that notes are sent directly to a preferred system (either an Electronic Laboratory Notebook or Laboratory Information Management System), it allows researchers to record their notes whenever they want and in a way that doesn’t risk exposure to harmful materials. It also reduces the need to memorize notes and rewrite them later, so they can spend more time on their pressing benchwork tasks that made them want to be scientists in the first place”.

Elementa technology goes far beyond note-taking, as it is also possible to set up protocol narration which provides step-by-step guidance through the actions that need to be taken in an experiment. This is especially well-suited for experiments involving some types of DNA sequencing such as whole genome amplification or next generation sequencing, where it is imperative that the experiment stays completely sterile and has no contact with external DNA (a particularly difficult task, considering every human being is made up of their own DNA). Hands have to remain inside a clean hood at all times and can’t for example be used to turn the page of a paper protocol. Yet with Elementa, the protocol can be dictated to the scientist by the voice assistant, alleviating the potential issues that could cause errors, leading to experiment repeats resulting in reductions of productivity.

Speaking more about the work Elementa Labs has done with different laboratories, Lirry Pinter highlights that they “tested a variety of labs and one finding is that each one is a little bit different and brings its own set of challenges. Some researchers have to work in very loud environments, others work in dark rooms. We want to make sure that our solution can perform in any of these laboratories.” He goes on to give an example: “we recently made a functionality which allows you to tweak the voice assistant to the surroundings you’re in to ensure that whatever the environment, it’s always going to be a perfect match and respond to your natural language”. Elementa voice recognition even works directly in front of noisy safety hoods.

Elementa technology differs from an Alexa or Google Assistant because it is designed purposely for the science sphere. Not only does it respond adaptively to a range of different environments, it also accurately responds to scientific terminology, which can be a real barrier in the commercial voice assistants that are better suited to furthering smart home initiatives. Simply ask Elementa where a specific item is and it can gather information from your inventory management system and tell you where it is located. Or ask Elementa to record your observations as you look into a microscope. The use cases are endless and encourage not only more flexibility, but more efficiency in documenting your research and overseeing your entire laboratory management.

On the journey to create the laboratory of the future, Labforward has partnered with a range of different laboratory software and technology providers. Speaking on this collaboration with Elementa, Labforward CEO Simon Bungers stated that, “by partnering with Elementa Labs we align ourselves with another company with objectives close to our own. We want to highlight the extraordinary work Lirry and his team are doing to make a difference in the way science is documented, improving research efficiency, compliance and safety in the laboratory”.

Speaking on this partnership, Lirry Pinter echoed that “Labforward is a perfect partner for us and I think it’s because we have the same vision of the future. We can already see it in the way they are progressing their products like Laboperator and this is highly beneficial for scientists when combined with voice assistant technology. Scientists will actually feel like they’re in the lab of the future because they can control the laboratory environment with their voice and utilize the robust infrastructure that Labforward provides”.

Collaboration is one of the fundamental pillars of the scientific community and is also an essential part of Labforward’s approach. Alongside our partners, we are connecting data, devices and teams to ready our users for the Smart Labs of the future.

Using Labfolder and want to know more about how you can integrate your ELN with Elementa technology? Please get in touch with either or navigate here to set up a free demo.

Want to watch the full interview with Lirry? Watch below or navigate to our Youtube channel!