SEP 15, 2020 11:27 AM PDT

Chemistry Grad Students Be Warned: a Robotic Takeover?

WRITTEN BY: Daniel Duan

(Pixabay/PIRO4D)

In a recent news release, the research arm of IBM announced that their Zurich team has developed an autonomous chemistry research platform called RoboRXN. The pioneering project combines three advanced technologies - Cloud-based computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and automated processing, to transform the way chemists work.

The brain of the system is based on IBM's RXN, a cloud-based program first launched two years ago. Its primary function is to predict the outcome of customer-provided chemical reactions. In 2019, a retrosynthesis tool was added to the program. The new application is the exactly reversed process of predicting reaction outcomes - it can decide the reactants and synthesis routes that are required to generate a certain compound. 

IBM RoboRXN for Chemistry (IBM)

IBM isn't the only one that attempts to bring automated, AI-driven systems to the forefront of chemistry innovation. A group of chemists and robotics scientists at the University of Liverpool revealed their "mobile robotic chemist" earlier this year. Their free-roaming, autonomous robot is capable of performing chemical reactions indepently, and without "resting" for weeks. The program incorporated into the robot chemist can also perform data analyses and simple decision-making.

What sets the IBM's system apart from the competitions is that on top of performing all laboratory actions with zero human intervention, which include reaction and solvent addition, temperature control, and all sorts of reaction agitations, RoboRXN is also able to perform experiments by following textual descriptions from literatures.

But graduate students, have no fear. Taking over your positions isn't a part of IBM's plan. Instead, the technology giant is offering RoboRXN as a paid service with remote access. The scientists behind the project believed that their system can help accelerate the way we make chemistry discovery at an unprecedented rate.

Source: C&EN

About the Author
  • Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
You May Also Like
AUG 18, 2020
Microbiology
The Science of Pesto
AUG 18, 2020
The Science of Pesto
  The word pesto comes from the Genovese word pestâ (pestare in Italian) which means “to pound” o ...
SEP 21, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Stable skyrmions hold the future of electronic devices
SEP 21, 2020
Stable skyrmions hold the future of electronic devices
New research published in Nature Communications reports on development in skyrmion stability, brought to us from sc ...
OCT 09, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Plastic-Eating Cocktail Could Help Establish Infinite Recycling
OCT 09, 2020
Plastic-Eating Cocktail Could Help Establish Infinite Recycling
There's no doubt that the current recycling system isn't efficient enough in handling the plastic wastes our soc ...
NOV 02, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Never-Found-Before Molecule Detected in Titan's Atmosphere
NOV 02, 2020
Never-Found-Before Molecule Detected in Titan's Atmosphere
Astronomers have detected Cyclopropenylidene (C3H2) on Titan, one of Saturn's 53 confirmed moons. While the molecule ...
NOV 09, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
The Science Behind Wine Fraud Prevention
NOV 09, 2020
The Science Behind Wine Fraud Prevention
Wine comes in a wide range of flavors and prices. Wine fraud, in which cheaply produced wine is passed off as the expens ...
NOV 11, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Bioconductive ink uses the body's own electrical signals to direct how and where neurons grow
NOV 11, 2020
Bioconductive ink uses the body's own electrical signals to direct how and where neurons grow
The development of a new bioconductive ink from researchers in Australia, India, and Bangladesh is reported in the journ ...
Loading Comments...