GelDoc Go Imaging System

  • 2020

  • Engineering

Commissioned By:

Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc

Designed In:


GelDoc Go is a breakthrough digital imaging instrument used for nucleic acid and protein analysis. Its small footprint, benchtop size and rapid processing speed makes traditional, room-sized instruments redundant; giving medical scientists a powerful tool to improve world health outcomes, including the search for a COVID-19 vaccine.

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  • The greatest design challenge in achieving a small instrument footprint whilst providing a light sealed, large and accessible sample area, as well as space for necessary light paths, optics and electronics. Another challenge was to shift scientists’ expectation from lab imagers being specialised, monolithic instruments, to be open to an imager becoming a powerful, personal research tool – as easy to use as an office printer.

  • The space efficiency of the GelDoc Go is built on a decade of optics development, and some clever industrial design. For example, the sample drawer extends to the product’s edges providing unhindered access to the large sample area. Its ease of use is driven by an IoT platform and cloud-based image acquisition. For example, the user touchpoints are designed to link together harmoniously and intuitively. Loading the Smart Tray triggers pre-set operations and identifies sample types as they are docked. Whilst the clean, flush glass of the 10-inch touch screen acts as a portal to a future connected system of Bio-Rad products and support systems.

  • The crucial design impact for GelDoc Go was to convey the product as easy to use and thereby increase the utilisation and prevalence of the product in the lab environment. Design has achieved this by identifying the key functional external surfaces of the product – interface glass, drawer and upper mat and linking the sculptural surfaces that connect them. The overall form and design have cleverly harnessed the dominant planar surfaces by connecting them with controlled accelerating curvature and crisp edges. GelDoc Go has a ready for action stance and will enable researchers to spend less time queuing for imaging time on more expensive, time intensive imagers.

  • Bio-Rad’s patented optics and ‘QuickSight’ camera technology allows industry-leading levels of image capture from the very low light emissions which occur during protein and nucleic acid expression. This significant improvement in imaging speed and sensitivity frees scientists to get on with the research they want to do. Faster imaging equals more frequent use of the sample area, so minimising operational steps was a key objective. A telescopic sample drawer provides a single action opening process, compared to pivoting doors that need two actions and a full rotational movement to access samples. Compact size has not compromised GelDoc Go’s sampling capacity which is the same or greater than larger more expensive instruments. This was achieved by a unique double skin construction of a diecast chassis for a stable internal frame for optics mounting, as well as performing the bulk of the light sealing, whilst the external moulded ABS/PC panels provide the aesthetic and touchpoint attributes. The unique ergonomic challenge was to ensure the interface size and angle suited a maximum range of user heights, whilst giving clear eyeline and hand access to adjust gels in the sample drawer. The solution is a cleverly designed forward leaning drawer front.