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IBM launches new industrial chemistry robot to enable lab automation

IBM has launched a new industrial chemistry lab robot called RoboRXN, describing it as “the first remotely accessible, autonomous chemical laboratory”. (See video below.)

The computing giant says the RXN machine is “revolutionizing industrial chemistry, by transforming it into a high tech business”.

RXN uses a combination of artificial intelligence, automation and cloud computing to relieve the chemist from tedious repetitive tasks, allowing more time and space for design and innovation.

Starting from a retrosynthesis and using pre-built AI models, RoboRXN generates a list of instructions to program the automation hardware.

IBM says operating the machine is simple and contains the following steps:

  • connect to RoboRXN through a web browser;
  • draw or paste a molecule of your choice;
  • use RoboRXN AI as an assistant to get a synthesis recommendation; and then
  • RoboRXN programs the hardware to execute the production of your molecule.

The robot enables chemistry labs to create molecules directly from the literature or lab notes.

The AI model has been trained on corpus of around one million patents and allows researchers to copy and paste paragraphs describing chemical procedures into a text box.

Researchers can let RoboRXN extract a standardized list of actions.

RoboRXN also translates actions to machine-readable instructions which are fed to the automation hardware.

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