Scinogy – Centrifuge Protocol Builder Desktop App
The team of engineers at Scinogy have designed and developed a centrifuge for research use and manufacture in a GMP environment, based on their decades of work in this field. Often prohibitively expensive for early stage manufacturing and medical research, the Scinogy equipment is affordable and very flexible for all types of cell processing.
Contactpoint was delighted to be engaged to design and build a desktop application to allow users of the centrifuge to design a protocol (or recipe) for a particular cell processing event. This task had previously been accomplished using a complex Excel spreadsheet.
The protocols created in the application are exported to a JSON file and then loaded onto the centrifuge while in the laboratory controlled environment. The application has been built for desktop computers running the Windows 10 operating system.
Contactpoint designed the application in Figma (cloud design tool) extending designs of the centrifuge control software. Design aims were to provide consistency with the centrifuge control software at the same time as delivering an easy to use application hiding some of the complexities of the equipment, allowing the user to create valid protocols in a more intuitive manner. Concepts such as repeating sections of a protocol were introduced.
Contactpoint designed a new kit view – the graphical representation of all the tubes and connections into the equipment – to help the lab technician understand their protocol, and ultimately connect the bags of cells and other solutions, to the right connections on the equipment.
Contactpoint worked closely with Scinogy to refine the user interface to ensure that it was intuitive across the myriad scenarios that a cGMP manufacturing or laboratory environment might need to test, and to ensure that the resulting JSON output file would validate and run correctly on the equipment.
Effective collaboration was required between the Contactpoint team, Scinogy, the developers of the centrifuge control application, and Successful Endeavours who developed the interface between the centrifuge control software and the mechanical activities on the hardware. Read more about the hardware and electronics in this blog post.
The new kit view was developed as a separate module, and is re-used within the centrifuge control software, providing development efficiencies and ensuring a consistent interface for the end user. The kit view was visually and programmatically broken up into a large number of separate images, which are “switched on or off” in the appropriate colour to match the path of the liquid flow through the equipment – this was a significant programming and design challenge due to the large number of possible paths through the equipment and connected tubes.
Software controls designed by Contactpoint were introduced to the exported JSON file to ensure that the protocol has not been tampered with or corrupted between the export and execution on the centrifuge.
To enable users to test their protocols outside of the restrictive laboratory and cGMP environments, the Protocol Builder includes a Simulation module and Process Model. The Simulation module provides the user with a graphical simulation of a protocol including estimated run time and the input and output volumes for media and bags. The user can run the simulator in real time, adjust input parameters, speed up or slow down the play back rate, move to a particular step, or repeat within a loop. Animation of fluid levels of bags connected to the centrifuge throughout each step is also provided.
The Process Model allows the user to model the behaviour of different cells within the system by changing the media properties, flow rate and G force. The Contactpoint team translated the Excel based calculations developed by Scinogy to generate a user-friendly graphical representation of the data.
Overall, the application is making a significant difference to the use of the technology, saving considerable time, preventing unnecessary waste, and improving the results of each process run on the equipment.
"Contactpoint helped realise the potential of Scinogy’s revolutionary cell processing technology by providing an elegant, intuitive and powerful application for protocol development that further enhances the flexibility and usability of the system."