Key Software Innovations for Optimized NGS Library Preparation

Despite its compact benchtop footprint, firefly® packs a huge amount of functionality, featuring pipetting, dispensing, shaking and incubation capabilities. Throughout its development, SPT Labtech has been committed to enhancing both its accessibility and usability. This commitment is reflected in firefly’s software, where a visual and intuitive interface has simplified protocol development and setup.

Making Streamlined NGS Library Preparation More Accessible

These latest enhancements, developed directly from user feedback in the field, highlight the company’s customer-centric approach to innovation. SPT Labtech listened to and understood the challenges faced by their users, then fine-tuned the software improvements to improve the laboratory experience. 

Below are some of the key updates made in this latest release.

Edit Protocols More Easily and Quickly with the Grouped Steps Editor

A grouped steps editor has been introduced to facilitate protocol editing, meaning that users no longer need to ungroup to edit grouped steps. Breadcrumb navigation also simplifies moving between nested groups.

Key Updates of the Firefly Software for Optimized NGS Library Preparation

Image Credit: SPT Labtech

Multi-Reagent Aspirate/Dispense Support

Adjacent dispense steps of the same type are now able to be linked together at the press of a button. Steps can now be performed concurrently, which increases efficiency and speed in reagent addition.

Cloud Protocol Version Control

Users are now able to select a protocol change entry from the history page to return to previous protocol versions.

Key Updates of the Firefly Software for Optimized NGS Library Preparation

Image Credit: SPT Labtech

Introduction of Lid Support

Microplate lids are now listed in the firefly software as a type of labware, similar to plates and tips. It is now possible to program the automatic moving and stacking of lids in protocol steps as needed, which protects contents from evaporation and contamination without any manual intervention.

Key Updates of the Firefly Software for Optimized NGS Library Preparation

Image Credit: SPT Labtech

Undo/Redo Support When Editing Protocols

Advanced enhancements to the protocol design user experience allow users to undo and redo accidental changes to their protocols at the press of a button. This is especially useful when working with large, complex protocols, offering significant time savings for firefly users.

Enhancement to Feedback Hub

Users now have an improved method for providing instrument feedback that streamlines troubleshooting and minimizes downtime. There are now three feedback options: 

  • Suggest a new feature: Send SPT Labtech suggestions or concepts for new features, and they will explore options
  • Report a software bug
  • Service request: Create a support ticket with an engineer for any mechanical or hardware issues

Locking Protocol Support

For another level of security, particularly when working with larger collaborative groups, SPT Labtech introduces locking protocols. For any user with this privilege, protocols can be locked from being edited or deleted by other uses. The user enacting the locked protocol remains the only one who can unlock it.

Support For Dispense Step Syringe to Well XYZ Offsets

This new feature allows the user to dictate where in the well liquid is dispensed. There is also a validation step to prevent any potential collision scenarios.

When it comes to genomics liquid handling software, firefly has raised the bar through increased automation accessibility in its visual and intuitive user interface.

The latest improvements, driven by valuable customer feedback during the development process, have further enhanced the usability and functionality of firefly. These enhancements play a crucial role in streamlining NGS library and sample preparation processes.

About SPT Labtech

SPT Labtech designs and manufactures robust, reliable and easy-to-use solutions for life science. We enable life scientists through collaboration, deep application knowledge, and leading engineering to accelerate research and make a difference together. We offer a portfolio of products within sample management, liquid handling, and multiplexed detection that minimize assay volumes, reduce material handling costs and put the discovery tools back in the hands of the scientist.

At the Heart of What We Do

Many of our innovations have been born out of the desire to create solutions to existing customer problems; and it’s this ethos that drives SPT Labtech’s R&D efforts. Our strengths come from the trust our customers have with us to develop truly unique, automated technologies to meet their needs. We combine cutting edge science with first-rate engineering to put customers at the heart of everything we do.

A Problem-Solving State of Mind

The substantial breadth of expertise within our company enables us to be involved in the full life cycle of our products from the initial design concept, mechanical and software engineering and prototyping, to final manufacture and sale. These qualities allow us to offer the best possible technical and mechanical support to all the equipment that we supply, hence maintaining excellent client relationships.


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Last updated: Feb 2, 2024 at 4:23 AM

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