The Origin Story: from Probe Drum to Labbot

Trace our story from a Ph.D. project to the development of Labbot, a testament to perseverance and the pursuit of practical solutions in scientific research.

Published on
March 8, 2023
An abstract visualisation of the inner filter effect.
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Nearly 15 years ago, as a budding Biochemistry Ph.D. student, I was tasked with understanding the role of a certain virus protein in viral proliferation. The project required reconstituting the protein into proteoliposomes, essentially artificial cell membranes, and observing ion flow.

The Problem: Intricate Calibration, Time, and Consistency

Executing the project meant performing precise pH calibration for each batch, an intricate and laborious task. Looking forward, I realised the project would require hundreds of such calibrations, each needing utmost consistency. Given the magnitude and precision required, I needed help.

Where it started – the first ever prototype.

The Solution: Automated Assistance

Searches for solutions turned up empty, leading to the daunting question: could I build a device myself? Fortunate to have a background in software and electronics, and blessed with a supportive supervisor, I took on the challenge. The instrument I built was a success, and the resulting sense of accomplishment was exhilarating.

Launch event for Probe Drum back in 2012.

The Evolution: From Prototype to Product

Encouragement to commercialise the prototype led to the founding of Probation Labs. The inaugural product, the red Probe Drum, was introduced in December 2012. As a UV/vis absorbance measurement instrument, it performed wonderfully, creating a sense of triumph and delight.

Continuous Improvement: Multi-mode Measurements

In March 2016, the blue Probe Drum M was introduced, boasting a multi-mode detection system. Despite its success, it wasn't optimized for production and maintenance, thus necessitating a more robust version - the Probe Drum Lab-in-a-box, which was carved from a solid block of aluminium, giving it temperature control and overall quality. This model found its place in academic labs throughout Europe as well as research labs at well-known companies.

The final version of the Probe Drum

New Chapter: Introducing Labbot

Through the years, the Probe Drum's reputation spread organically, with lab to lab referrals becoming our primary marketing strategy. Its unique functionalities and values couldn't be overlooked. Yet, we were aware that we had merely scratched the surface.

As we strive to reach and serve more scientists, we have crafted a better instrument - the Labbot. It does all the things Probe Drum Lab-in-a-box does but so much better. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the affordable price.

In this journey, you are the hero. We are here to facilitate your scientific advancement by providing a powerful tool for your lab and knowledge on how to harness it for diverse tasks. Together, let's chart the path to scientific discovery.

With Labbot we hope to equip more pioneers
The Labbot Blog

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