Research science in its purest form is all about information. Gathering, testing, analyzing results and then doing it all over again for impact and use. App development in the sciences is often geared to “citizen scientists” who track meteor showers, star alignment or biologic information. Considering that scientists are partly in the information business, it’s interesting to note that many laboratory and data sharing is still done the old fashioned way: on paper and in person.
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That seems to be changing with the advent of app developers who are working in the sciences to build an app to provide ease of use tools. The lab notebook has for centuries been the go-to device for data storage. It is hand-written and indexed by date. It’s purpose is not only to record data and notes but also to provide evidence of experiment ownership. However, when it comes to looking up or cross-referencing experiments, without knowing the date, it’s a painful search through pages of notes that are often in handwriting of lab managers or technicians.
Apps on smart phones and tablets are not replacing the lab notebook but are adding to it and creating ease of use data. Many scientists simply take photos as backup or have the information uploaded to PCs for better search-ability. Some labs are interested in using tablets to replace their notebooks but for many, the use of apps here is for data storage and backup.
Apps that provide easier to use tools are in use more frequently. These include apps that developers created in conjunction with life science companies. ThermoFisher Scientific, for example, has an app that goes with one of their spectrophotometers. It can analyze and store data output from scans and even compare and overlay different runs and experiments. Other apps in this category include those that speed up calculation.
Every bench scientist spends much of their time working out percent calculations, dilution recipes and designing experiments. Apps such as Lab Solver calculate and save data and scientists can avoid the human element of a missed decimal place or skipped step. There are other companies that provide apps for creating and adjusting protocols so edits can be made as the experiment runs.
Scientists and medical professionals commonly do their best work or break through idea barriers in conjunction with others, through brainstorming with peers. Conferences are regularly attended by all members of the profession. Now app development companies have jumped in to help the paperwork laden meetings. Apps are available that can provide speaker schedules with links to abstracts or papers and other reference materials, all in one spot, through a mobile app.
With the need for brainstorming and working out publication, sharing and collaboration are common parts of a scientist’s workday. Now it’s easier than ever to sketch out ideas or calculations on whiteboards and send a quick photo to a collaborator for comment. Apps that allow for data sharing or document upload like Dropbox are also being used more frequently. For many, visuals are an important part of data review and apps have been developed that can link video, photos and data all in one place.
Science is often seen as ahead of itself, working on problems or finding resolutions that are brand new. But a conservative streak still remains in hand done calculations and hand written data. Thanks to app developers who have been working to streamline information and put it at people’s fingertips, science can more readily share the information it’s designed to provide.
Author Bio: Shahid Mansuri Co-founded Peerbits, one of the leading Top mobile application development company USA, in 2011 which provides Blockchain app development services. His visionary leadership and flamboyant management style have yield fruitful results for the company. He believes in sharing his strong knowledge base with learned concentration on entrepreneurship and business. Being an avid nature lover, he likes to flaunt his pajamas on beach during the vacations.