Mahoro a general purpose robot for automating lab work was co-developed by AIST and Yaskawa. It automates all sorts of lab work that previously had to be done manually, such as dispensing and culturing, faster and more precisely than people. So, it can do clinical tests and work with biohazards efficiently.
For example, to develop influenza drugs, we do infection trials every day, using virulent strains of influenza. This work is very hazardous, so it should be done by robots. We also have to do lots of tests with radioactive materials. Those should also be done by robots. We’ve tried various robot systems. But if we build special-purpose robots, when we modify trial procedures or switch to different projects, those robots become useless. Also, developing robots is very time-consuming. So, we wanted to develop a robot that can do what people do, using the same tools people use. That’s why we’ve developed Mahoro.