From identifying anemia by counting red blood cells to tracking the growth of cell/ tissue cultures in a laboratory, counting cells is the basis of many life science activities. Designed to replace the process of counting cells manually under a microscope using a hemocytometer or an expensive desk top automatic cell counter, Millipore's Scepter crams cell counting technology found in much larger instruments into a hand-held device the size of an automated pipette.
The instrument looks and works like a normal pipette and has on screen instruction for easy guidance. It contains electronic chips for cell sensing, signal processing, and data storage. A graphical display reports the cell count and average cell volume within 20 seconds of inserting the tip into a cell culture sample.
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“The Scepter handheld cell counter represents a breakthrough for life science researchers,” said John Sweeney, Vice President of Millipore’s life science business. “Unlike any other cell counter, this handheld device provides researchers with a simple and affordable automated option for counting cells and monitoring the health of their cultures.”
In addition to showing cell counts and average cell volume, the instrument also displays a bar chart of cell distribution by volume or diameter. The bar chart can be used to provide an instant snapshot of the health of the culture. Up to 72 results can be stored on the instrument or downloaded to a computer via a USB connector. The instrument is found to match theoretical standards and also matches the precision and accuracy of much larger machines based on Coulter counting techniques.
Millipore plans to launch Scepter during the latter half of the first quarter of 2010 at a "very affordable price". And if that happens we can look forward to not only having more efficient laboratories but also an affordable, easy and handy way of identifying anemia in rural and remote locations of the world.