Robot scientist outperforms humans in lab

January 15, 2004 | Source: New News Service

An intelligent robot that could free genomics researchers from routine lab chores has proven as effective as a human scientist. The robot not only performs genetics experiments, it also decides which ones to do, interprets the results and comes up with new hypotheses.

The “Robot Scientist” consists of a PC running an experiment selection system called ASE and a hypothesis generator called Progol. The PC is linked up to standard computer-controlled lab equipment. The only human intervention needed is to carry test plates to and from an incubator.

If Progol is correct — and it was 98 per cent of the time — the software uses this knowledge to help formulate the next set of hypotheses and the next set of experiments to firm up its ideas.