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[seul-sci] Generic Lab Equipment Management Programs?

     While wriging the GAM email I just sent, I remembered a side idea that
I've been interested in for some time: With so many different tools in a
lab, I'm thinking that there is a place for a good, general Linux program to
drive (or at least store data from) lab equipment like spectrometers and
other pieces of equipment.

     One of my big concerns when using light spectroscopy is the stability
of the instrument. It would be useful to have some sort of indication that
the instrument required calibration BEFORE comsuming precious samples. I
have yet to see any spec that will take a water-filled cuvette and produce a
reference attenuation curve that could be compared at a later time (ie.
during subsequent usage). Most of these specs can either be computer
controlled, or at least have 'sweep' modes where a large range of
wavelengths can be tested and stored for later comparison.

     The most important use of such a program, though, is to store both the
raw and computed data from the spectrometer for QA purposes. I'd love to
know if anyone using such a program (or something similar) already. Although
I brought up this up in the GAM (generalized analysis manager) thread, I
feel that this functionality is distinct enough from managing graphical and
statistical analysis that it merits being a separate application - few of us
probably want to work on such analyses on lab desktops either. Also, the
large number of instruments makes it hard to connect it directly to anything
but a dedicated data manager.

     My two cents. :)


Pete St. Onge