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Exploring Trends in Biomedical Lab Design

Posted by Carol Trehearn

October 6, 2017 at 1:58 PM

Facilities follow design trends, whether commercial, residential, educational or industrial. Biomedical design has its own trends, too, though they are constrained by the utilitarian requirements of lab workers. Let’s explore some of the latest trends in biomedical lab design and the reasons behind them.

Flexible Layout

Biomedical labs contain too much equipment that cannot simply be relocated due to electrical, plumbing, venting, and clean air connections. However, new facilities and renovated ones are seeking to create as flexible a layout as possible. This raises the costs of the project up front, but it makes it possible to move staff around during maintenance or repairs and re-organize workspace to suit the projects they are working on. Labs with open spaces suitable for either large equipment, storage, or meetings allows them to easily hold meetings or classes in the middle of a lab instead of finding somewhere else to go. The mid-sized open spaces make it possible for online master of engineering in biomedical engineering students to build prototypes surrounded by their peers, receiving help and advice as they work.

Technology Integration

The personal computer’s placement in the lab is no longer an afterthought but an intentionally planned integration. Computer workstations and sensors are being integrated into new labs with full connectivity. One benefit of having shared “wet” lab facilities is that some of the existing lab stations previously assigned to a PI can now be converted into computer workstations. Whether you’re working on an online MEBME program through Rutgers Online during your downtime between lab tests or lunch breaks, it is now something you can easily do while in the lab instead of retreating to a conference room or office.

Planned Collaboration Spaces

Many new labs have shifted from an open floor plan in the hope of creating a collaboration to breaking into smaller “open” labs with as much shared equipment as possible, with each lab or group of labs enjoying a smaller collaboration space. This space could be a meeting room or a break area. This supports impromptu meetings to discuss problems or private discussions so that personal conflicts don’t disrupt everyone else’s work. Most new labs also set up a food kiosk or break area on each floor so that people can socialize informally with coworkers without having to leave the building. This enhances communication and socialization of team members while improving productivity since employees don’t have to run over to a cafeteria or leave the campus to pick up a meal. It can also improve team safety since no one feels the need to sneak food into the lab to eat while waiting for equipment to finish its latest cycle.

Much has changed in the way biomedical labs operate and are designed nowadays. Biomedical labs are adopting flexible layouts, shared equipment, and minimized utilities. These are used to save costs and collaboration spaces like meetings and break areas are being built because they suit humans’ natural socialization patterns. All these changes bring in greater efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and better use of new research methods and techniques.

Topics: Guest Post

    

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