What is a Programmable Syringe Pump?
Chemical and biomedical researchers use the programmable syringe pumps for infusing and withdrawing small amounts of fluid. It helps to mix, separate, and process microfluidics in high precision experiments. Further, it reduces error in biomedical and chemical experiments by providing better infusion control to researchers. The programming ability of syringe pumps help researchers to precisely control and administer experiments based on predetermined control parameters. The programmability feature has advanced use of microfluidic in biomedical and chemical instruments such as lab-on-chips, DNA chips, micro-propulsion. For example, researcher experiments involving lab-on-chip use the programmable syringe pump to study and analyze fluid (Srinivasan, Pamula, & Fair, 2004).
Its use has improved efficiency and reduced errors of experiments involving advanced micro-electro-mechanical systems.
How to Setup a Programmable Syringe Pump?
To efficiently use these programmable syringe pumps, researchers need to acquire basic skills of installation, calibration, administration, and programming.
A typical programmable syringe pump comprises of microfluidic syringe pump system, computer interface or display, and suitable software driver.
Research scientists pass control commands to the syringe pump using commonly used programming environments such as MATLAB or LabVIEW. In this respect, written scripts incorporate identified sets of functions to administer the volume, time, and mix of infusion or withdrawal fluid(s). To set up an experiment, researchers also require the following syringe pump specifications:
- Minimum and maximum discharge rate
- Number of pumps in the setup
- Minimum and maximum step rate
- User specified control parameters
Uses of Programmable Syringe Pumps
A programmable syringe pump can be used either as a standalone system or as an assembly comprising of multiple syringes. It sets pumping rate, dispense volume, and responds to external input signals (Rothschild et al., 2005).
In addition, programmable syringe pump inserts pause during experiment if required in an experiment. Further, advanced programmable syringe pumps have a buzzer to notify when a process of infusion completes.
Based on the type of experiment, the pumping rate and time can be either fixed or variable. With all these abilities, a programmable syringe pump is capable of changing pumping rate and pumping direction in response to runtime or preset input signals. A research can provide these control inputs and control signals with help of a pre-programmed script. The programming script comprises of preset functions. Researchers carefully select these control functions while preparing for the experiment.
Advantages of Programmable Syringe Pumps
Programmable syringe pumps are considered as the next generation smart pump with advanced features. They reduce error in biomedical and chemical experiments by providing better infusion control to researchers. They also come with advanced functionalities such as data documentation, parallel delivery systems, user-friendly interfaces, auto-programming, and error reduction capabilities.
Following are the major advantages of programmable syringe pumps:
- User-friendly graphical interface
- Easy to use simple commands
- Better control over microfluid system
- Capability to handle error
- Provides parallel delivery system
- Provides data security from cyber theft
The programmable syringe pumps are dearer than non-programmable syringe pumps.
The demand for programmable syringe pumps has grown in recent years to counter multiple instances of errors involving high risk biomedical and chemical experiments. In this respect, biomedical and chemical researchers need to use programmable syringe pumps for high precision and better control.
- Rothschild, J. M., Keohane, C. A., Cook, E. F., Orav, E. J., Burdick, E., Thompson, S., . . . Bates, D. W. (2005). A controlled trial of smart infusion pumps to improve medication safety in critically ill patients. Critical care medicine, 33(3), 533-540.
- Srinivasan, V., Pamula, V. K., & Fair, R. B. (2004). An integrated digital microfluidic lab-on-a-chip for clinical diagnostics on human physiological fluids. Lab on a Chip, 4(4), 310-315.