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FreezerPro ColdTrack RFID Kit Pinpoints Vials in Cryogenic Storage Boxes

RURO's solution includes BioTillion's BoxMapper reader that lets researchers not only confirm that a specific sample is present, but also know its exact location within a box.
By Claire Swedberg
First, a user inputs data regarding a sample being stored in a vial into the RURO software. This information may include the sample's volume, group or category, as well as the date and the parent sample from which it originated. Once the vial is placed into the cryo-box and on the BoxMapper, the unit reads the tag's ID number, determines its location and forwards that data to the RURO software, which displays a visual map of the box. When the vial is removed, the BoxMapper no longer reads the tag at that location, and the vial's ID is removed from the software display.

Identifying where specific vials are stored has historically been problematic, Lebedev says, since researchers are often responsible for 1,000 or more vials of a variety of substances, and may put into service new vials filled with substances taken from older ones—all of which need to be traceable for other experiments, as well as for inventory checks. The RURO software, he explains, enables a researcher to, for example, search for a specific kind of substance, such as DNA from someone of a particular age or gender, and view a map indicating where such vials would be located as that individual places the cryo-boxes on the BoxMapper. In addition, RURO provides users with paper labels on which they can print data about the material within each vial, as a redundancy to the RFID system. "We recommend that," Lebedev states.

RURO tested the BioTillion BoxMapper devices at several locations last year, Lebedev reports, in order to determine how well they could read tags, and how accurately they could pinpoint a specific vial's location. The BoxMapper and the RURO kit are now being trialed by a biomedical firm that has asked to remain unnamed.

The solution, according to RURO, not only allows users to spend less time entering data to identify each vial, but also ensures that mistakes are not made by workers mislabeling a vial, which could lead to using the wrong substance during a procedure. RURO's software is currently in use by more than 1,000 laboratories worldwide, Lebedev says, and is available in 10 languages.

BioTillion was founded by physicist Hanan Davidowitz, the company's CEO. BoxMapper, Davidowitz says, is his firm's first commercially released product related to the tracking of biological samples within freezers. The company markets the BoxMapper through RURO, as well as other distributors worldwide. During the coming year, he adds, BioTillion intends to release a solution that will track cryogenic boxes in real time, via an RFID reader and antennas built into the freezer.

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