$50m Series B funding
Automata is a laboratory automation company in an exciting phase of evolution.
Providing robotic automation solutions to the life sciences industry, their innovative hardware helps scientists achieve fast, accurate results.
At the apex of the COVID-19 pandemic, when demand was sky-high, they partnered with the NHS to provide diagnostic testing at pace.
Here’s their robot arm ‘Eva’ in action, automating the preparation of a sample for testing. Arms like this that don’t get tired and can perform repetitive tasks consistently, with high accuracy, were key to the UK’s COVID-19 testing.
Automata do vital, complex work that makes a real difference to laboratory efficiency and capabilities.
We came on board to help define their vision for a new software offering, bringing it to life in a sales-focused asset to generate excitement within the market.
You folks really came through for us on such a complex product in an extremely limited time.
The best way to quickly gain insight about a product’s direction whilst moving fast is to harness the knowledge of its internal stakeholders.
Our first task was to capture the status quo internally, digesting everything the Automata team had in mind with stakeholder interviews.
We needed to grasp everything the Automata team were thinking about, digest it and meet that goal with design.
A vision of automation
We learned that a crucial part of Automata’s software proposition is the way it speeds up testing and reduces reliance on manual intervention. Focusing on how efficient this made things was going to be a key differentiator for the product.
With it, scientists are able to simulate their physical setups – creating ‘digital twins’ of the objects on their real-world workbenches – to try things out, optimise and run tests.
Showing how simple it can be to configure instruments and drivers on this ‘virtual bench’ before visualising the workflow of a test was vital to demonstrating the product’s value.
It’s like Zapier for laboratories – a nocode approach to a code-reliant workflow, with no coding knowledge required!
Automation UI design
The next piece of the puzzle was to create all the UI elements and screens needed to bring the vision to life, showing off the software’s capabilities.
A clean, modular drag and drop system for building both workcells (the ‘virtual workbenches’) and workflows (the steps needed to perform a test) show how straightforward Automata’s software is to use.
Creating a flexible, extensible design system, even at this early vision stage, means we have the building blocks we need in the form of components as the project moves forward.
The team is so pleased and psyched about where we are headed with our product!
The future of automation
Automata now have a powerful visual asset to create a buzz and show clearly what their laboratory automation product is capable of. Using it, they are able to champion their vision.
With a rigorous user research phase up next, Automata are well on the way to powering the smart labs of the future.
The UI we created for this vision piece serves as a strong foundation for us to get going on delivery of the real-life platform.