electromechanical devices, robotics, and process automation

Projects demonstrating this capability:

Analytical Ultracentrifugation Fluorescence Detectors and Acquisition Systems for Protein Assembly Dynamics Studies

Analytical ultracentrifugation, though a classical biophysical discipline, has undergone a renaissance in the last decade due to new computational capabilities and new instrumentation, with increasing applications in structural biology and immunology, for example, for the study of protein interactions and multi-protein complexes, and in biotechnology industry for the characterization of protein pharmaceuticals and nanoparticles for drug delivery. 

Lower speed centrifuge system used for fluorescence detection platform development and AUC analysis of rapid-sedimenting and non-diffusing particles

HAMMS - Hand-Arm Movement Monitoring System

HAMMS was originally conceived by NIDA as a system for pre-symptomatic diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease by monitoring a patient’s fine locomotor abilities. SPIS designed HAMMS to be a clinic-friendly (i.e., low cost, portable, and quick routine diagnostic) system consisting of a camera and custom video processing algorithm.  The system tracks the hand of a patient performing a set of motions as defined by a path outlined on a computer screen, and also provides visual feedback (i.e., real-time machine vision) to the participant as to how well they are maintaining the desired path.

Photo of HAMMS system in use

Image-Based Robotic Targeting System to Control Micromanipulators for Single Cell Studies in Living Biological Tissues

We are developing a second-generation software system for image-based robotic automation of micromanipulators, which entails seamless integration and control of combined optical-mechanical systems used for NINDS biological investigation.

3D model of micromanipulator and micropipette

Non-Injurious Pain Model Using Mice

Patients cite pain as the most common reason for seeking health care, and some medical organizations include pain as a fifth vital sign along with blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, and respirations. While the understanding of the neurophysiologic mechanisms by which noxious and non-noxious stimuli are perceived has substantially improved, the mechanisms of pain are not entirely understood.

Graphic demonstrating Neurometer connection to mouse

Quantitative Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging for Disease Detection and Monitoring

SPIS collaborated with the NICHD Program in Physical Biology to develop a Lifetime Fluorescence Imaging system.  With certain fluorophores, the fluorescence emission lifetime changes in response to changes in the immediate tissue environment.  This instrument was developed to quantify these changes in lifetime to investigate whether this method could be used as an effective non-invasive early-stage tumor detection system.  SPIS was responsible for instrumentation hardware specification and integration.  SPIS also developed the software for instrument control and data acquisition.  The instr

Custom software user interface for Lifetime Fluorescence Imaging system

System to Measure Rodent Vestibular Sensory Evoked Potentials

The Mouse Auditory Testing Core within NIDCD provides investigators with assistance in testing auditory function in rodents. In addition to the standard auditory testing (such as auditory brainstem response), NIDCD is expanding core capabilities to include the often needed testing of vestibular sensory evoked potentials (VsEPs). VsEPs are used to assess the vestibular system, which is a critical component associated with a sense of balance.

3D model of the custom mouse head clip and mounting hardware for the VsEPs system

Tissue MicroArrayer for High Throughput Analysis of Pathology Tissue Samples

NIH researchers introduced an innovative technique for high density arraying of archival clinical tissue in the research and clinical laboratory. Consisting of an array of cylindrical cores extracted from formalin-fixed paraffin embedded tissue samples, tissue microarrays (TMA) have become widely used as a powerful validation tool for high throughput genomic screens.

Automated robotic tissue microarrayer

Two-Photon Excitation Fluorescence Microscopy Motion Tracking to Study in-vivo Subcellular Structures

SPIS collaborated with the NHLBI Laboratory of Cardiac Energetics to develop a methodology enabling the study in vivo sub-cellular structures and signaling processes in real-time.  Multi-photon fluorescence imaging provides improved tissue penetration, sensitivity, and information content when investigating dynamic intercellular events within living tissue, but physiological motion degrades the quality of these images and makes temporal observations challenging.  Our system implementation, designed to be functional in tandem with the commercial two-photon microscope system, adjusts

Time-lapse volume of with and without motion tracking correction