Thermo Fisher launches 'smart' PCR systems with facial unlock, voice commands

Thermo Fisher Scientific headquarters
The voice commands and radio-frequency identification plates allow researchers to perform experiments without removing their gloves. (Thermo Fisher)

If you’ve ever wished your genetic analyzer could work more like your smartphone, you may be in luck: Thermo Fisher Scientific is bringing high-tech upgrades to its real-time PCR instruments it says are designed to improve the user experience.

This includes hands-free voice commands and the ability to log in and unlock the device using facial recognition. Launched under its Applied Biosystems brand, Thermo Fisher describes the QuantStudio 6 and 7 Pro systems as the world’s first smart PCR platforms.

While the devices come with a touchscreen, many researchers in the lab perform experiments while wearing gloves. That led Thermo Fisher to add simple voice commands allowing them to open and close the tray door or to start the machine.

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QuantStudio 7 Pro (Thermo Fisher)

The systems can also scan RFID-tagged array plates, which can upload setup information such as the plate layout and eliminate the need for manual data entry. Afterward, experiment status and results can be evaluated remotely from a desktop or smartphone using the company’s mobile app.

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With a variety of sizes and multiplexing options, prospective shoppers can also take Thermo Fisher’s online personality quiz, which asks: “Which qPCR instrument are you?”

The devices offer direct access to service and support through its menus. They are capable of sending the necessary diagnostic information and receiving corrective actions remotely. Thermo Fisher says the new units are built on a smaller footprint and use up to 26% less energy than previous models.