Is your computer monitor adorned with little yellow notes full of passwords? Wouldn't it be nice to do away with all this when you turn on the computer and log on? It could happen sooner than you might think. Recent advances in biometric techniques, abetted by the availability of inexpensive computer power, promise to change the face of security systems.
November / December 2003
Numerous chemical databases, spreadsheets and simulation packages, in recent years, have provided inbuilt chemical awareness. This savoir-faire allows them to recognise a structure for what it is, rather than simply 'seeing' a cluster of lines and letters as is the case with a conventional, non-chemical drawing package.
The R&D laboratory of a large European food manufacturer, with dozens of international subsidiaries, was preparing to move into a new research facility. Its research was minimally automated, and the company was running several rudimentary, home-grown, information management systems. The company's biologists were totally unaware of how much a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) could aid in their proteomics research.
Although Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) have not been around for very many years (the first commercial LIMS started appearing in the 1980s), there are clear signs that this has become a mature market. One indicator is the number of collaborations and agreements between what are now relatively large companies. Rationalisations in the field of product development are sure signs that competition is hotting up, and that the market may be able to support only a restricted number of new products and new systems.