The APAS Independence

  • 2019

  • Product
    Medical and Scientific

Designed By:

Commissioned By:

Clever Culture Systems

Designed In:


The APAS Independence revolutionises diagnostic laboratories by automating the screening of Petri dishes used to culture patient samples in the detection of disease. It reads culture plates three times faster than a microbiologist, screening 200 plates per hour, achieving major time savings for busy labs and facilitating faster patient results.

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  • The culture and identification of infectious agents is pivotal in the diagnosis of infection and proper antibiotic stewardship. The microbiology lab is one of the last laboratory disciplines to embrace automation. The Petri dish has been read manually since its introduction to microbiology, creating a bottleneck in microbiology laboratories. Up to 95% of agar plates can be negative, creating a demand to automate the process to allow microbiologists to spend their time on plates with significant growths. Human microbiologists can bring error and variability to test results, further creating the need for automation to ensure accuracy and consistency in results.

  • The APAS Independence uses patented visual-imaging technology based on machine-learning to automate culture plate reading. Its design ensures that each plate stops at a precise position relative to the camera, imperative for the image to be properly assessed. The software recognises colonies that resemble the most commonly encountered pathogens. Using complex algorithms, the APAS Independence analyses the significance of growth, determined by considering a combination of the number and types of colonies present and whether the colonies themselves have a morphology. Once negative plates are identified, the APAS Independence removes them from the workflow, triaging the positive plates to microbiologists.

  • The APAS Independence allows microbiologists to focus on tasks that make a difference to patients. Currently, APAS Independence is the only instrument that analyses the plate. After a 6 second assessment, plates with significant growth are quickly triaged for scientists to identify the pathogenic bacteria and test for the correct antibiotic for that patient. The appropriate antibiotic creates a better outcome for patients and improved antimicrobial stewardship. The reading of plates by the APAS Independence is consistent and reliable to a sensitivity of 98%, higher than humans. This consistency reduces “human” errors and increases the reliability and reproducibility of results.

  • The successful design of APAS Independence represents close collaboration between specialised teams from across multiple disciplines and companies. Ground-breaking imaging capture and analysis at the heart of the system, is supported by advanced robotic plate handling and sorting within the input and output carousels. The entire system is enclosed within a stylish enclosure developed with ergonomic principles and user needs in mind. The intuitive touch-screen interface provides clear semantic cues to allow operators to rapidly set processing parameters and determine the status of the system.