Method and apparatus for automated tissue assay Patent #: 5355439
ApplicationNo. 941507 filed on 09/30/1997
US Classes:700/247, Plural controlled devices or plural nonvision controlling devices700/264Having particular operator interface (e.g., teaching box, digitizer, tablet, pendant, dummy arm)
ExaminersPrimary: Downs, Robert W.
Attorney, Agent or Firm
International ClassG05B 013/00
AbstractA system which performs a plurality of independent analysis procedures simultaneously, possibly involving differing types of tissues and differing process steps, comprising a robotic arm, which may move the different tissue samples among a plurality of processing stations, and a processor, which may select the next tissue sample to move, when to move it, and where to move it to. The processor may direct the robotic arm to interleave the differing process steps. The processor may select a tissue sample to be moved in response to timing information about the procedures, which may specify the start time and end time of each process step. The specified times may be exact or may be a range of times. The processor may determine the exact time for a step by generating a possible sequence of steps and examining that sequence for conflicts, adjusting that sequence in response to those steps with a specified range of times, and iterating the calculation over a plurality of possible sequences. The processor may comprise a graphic interface by which an operator may specify the steps of a procedure. A display of grid locations may comprise symbols for the workstations, which an operator may identify with a pointing device such as a mouse. The operator may create a list of process steps for a procedure by selecting a sequence of workstations with the mouse, and associating timing or other information for each process step with the selected workstation. The operator may also choose to select a list of stored process steps for a procedure.