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NextGen's tools for the future

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Science  03 Apr 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6230, pp. 32-35
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6230.32
ILLUSTRATION: GWEN KERAVAL /WWW.GWENKERAVAL.COM

In January, we asked young scientists to name and describe a currently nonexistent invention that would make them more effective scientists. We heard from hundreds of scientists from dozens of countries. They described inventions that streamlined bench work, organization, communication, literature review, article writing, and idea generation. A sample of their responses can be found below. To allow for as many voices as possible, in some cases we have printed excerpts of longer submissions (indicated by ellipses) and lightly copy-edited original text for clarity. To read the complete versions, as well as many more, go to http://scim.ag/NG14R. Follow Science's NextGen VOICES survey on Twitter with the hashtag #NextGenSci.

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR

TEMPORARY HUMAN COPIER Be in multiple places!

HAVE AN experiment and meeting scheduled at the same time? Tired of not being able to be in multiple places at once? Fear no more! With the Temporary Human Copier (THC), you will be able to be in multiple places at once. The patented THC will allow you to copy yourself, memories and all! No need to worry about THC taking over your life; it will self-destruct into a puff of smoke after a predetermined amount of time. Act now and we will include a wireless memory device that records everything your copy sees and hears!…

Matthew Kruger

School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University Vancouver, Vancouver, WA 98686, USA. E-mail: Matthew.kruger{at}email.wsu.edu

CREDIT: VANESSA HUSSEY

COGNILYST Increase your lab efficiency!

COGNILYST LOOKS like a slick pair of lab goggles but goes far beyond protecting your eyes. Cognilyst tracks your every lab movement and annotates your environment through a holographic display. Cognilyst learns your protocols, detects manual errors, and correlates protocol variations with your results. Cognilyst generates simplified labeling schemes and remembers where you store your samples. Multiple Cognilysts can work together, allowing exceptional tracking of reagent and supply use within labs and unprecedented ease of collaboration between labs. Cognilyst also tracks your focus through EEG, recommends rest, and provides electrical stimulation to enhance attention for those extended experiments.

Brendan J. Hussey

Department of Cell and Systems Biology, University of Toronto Mississauga, Mississauga, ON, L5L 1C6, Canada. E-mail: bjohnhussey{at}gmail.com

CREDIT: OTHER PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE AUTHORS

THE CALIBOT Calibrate your instruments in seconds!

HAVING TROUBLE repeating an experiment from a paper or patent? Not sure you are using exactly the same instrument condition? Let CALIBOT help you. Simply select the publication you are following on CALIBOT. Then connect CALIBOT to the controller of your instrument. With a database containing instrument conditions from research labs all over the world, CALIBOT will calibrate your instrument to exactly the same conditions as the one used in the publication. Temperature distribution, mass flow, circuit signal delay, and many other parameters: CALIBOT covers them all.…

Wei Wang

Fujian Institute of Research on the Structure of Matter, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Fuzhou, Fujian, 350108, China. E-mail: wangwei{at}fjirsm.ac.cn

CREDIT: OTHER PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE AUTHORS

DISSECT-O-MATIC Dissect biological samples automatically!

INTRODUCING THE Dissect-O-Matic! Tired of endless hours with eyes scrunched and back hunched over a dissection microscope?

Then this is the device for you! The newly designed Dissect-O-Matic is a fully automated system to dissect, block, stain, and mount biological samples for microscopy imaging. Simply select from menu options to specify species, tissue type, and staining method, and the Dissect-O-Matic will take it from there! This ergonomic instrument may even be interfaced to your microscope to fully automate the next stage of specimen imaging for a truly streamlined, carefree research experience!

Masha G. Savelieff

Life Sciences Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA. E-mail: savelief{at}umich.edu

CREDIT: OTHER PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE AUTHORS

CELL SUBMARINE Look inside a living cell!

…BRING YOUR favorite cell a little closer with the first Cell Submarine. Aliquot one Cell Submarine into your cell culture dish. The Cell Submarine, equipped with a florescent-detecting camera, will begin beaming back images from inside the cell. This nanoscale sub can navigate through channels to seek out your favorite cell components. Cell Submarine can be directed using your phone as a remote.

Blair Roszell

Institute for Environmental Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. E-mail: blair.roszell{at}gmail.com

CREDIT: OTHER PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE AUTHORS

GROW ALREADY Grow trees 100 times faster!

DOES PROGRESSING through your Ph.D. in ecology literally feel like watching trees grow? Are you envious of cellular biologists who grow their organisms in petri dishes in mere weeks? Measuring the response of long-lived organisms to treatment manipulations can take decades. Eliminate the long wait time by using our specially formulated Grow Already tea, guaranteed to grow trees up to 100 times faster! Use Grow Already to obtain experimental results quicker and graduate in an acceptable amount of time!

Mailea R. Miller-Pierce

School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University, Vancouver, Vancouver, WA 98686, USA. E-mail: m.miller-pierce{at}email.wsu.edu

CREDIT: OTHER PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE AUTHORS

MISAT Preserve archaeological sites and samples!

ANCIENT GENETIC material is incredibly fragile. In an archaeological context, biological tissues are bombarded by exogenous DNA, and ultimately, human contamination. The Minimally-invasive Sample Acquisition Tool (MiSAT) combines core-drilling technology with a higher-resolution successor to modern ground-penetrating radar. Once you've identified a burial, MiSAT deploys a probe to extract a sample with almost surgical precision—all while preserving the stratigraphy of the site and limiting human contact before entering the lab.

Vincent M. Battista

Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA. E-mail: vincent.battista{at}yale.edu

CREDIT: CREDIT: SIGNUM DESIGN

AUTOSYRINX DARTS Collect blood from free-ranging animals!

FIELD WORKERS: Do you find yourself daydreaming about serum samples from your free-ranging study subjects? With the AutoSyrinx, your daydream just became a reality! Our patented rounds flip the function of dart guns on its head: Instead of putting a dart's contents into the animal's bloodstream, this device fills its lightweight barrel with a sample of the animal's blood! After extraction, which takes place nearly instantaneously, the dart ejects itself; the lightweight body of the round barely perturbs the animal being sampled.

Morgan E. Chaney

Department of Anthropology, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44242, USA. E-mail: mchaney1{at}kent.edu

CREDIT: OTHER PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE AUTHORS

FALSE POSITIVE DETECTOR Detect spurious results!

SCIENTISTS traditionally accept a 5% chance that a statistically significant result is actually a false positive. That means 1 out of 20 findings is deceptively spurious, luring scientists down twisted paths lined with failures to replicate, wasted money, and lost time. Why take that 5% chance when the False Positive Detector can make it 0%? Simply scan your data with the False Positive Detector, which reports back, “True result: Submit for publication” or “False positive: Back to the drawing board.” For an extra $100 per month, access the False Positive File Drawer of unpublished null results, which will save you even more time!

Rosa Li

Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA. E-mail: rosa.li{at}duke.edu

CREDIT: OTHER PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE AUTHORS

CHEMBIO-IMPACTOMICS Predict the biological impact of molecules!

MOST DRUG candidates fail in the approval process due to safety and/or efficacy issues. Chembioimpactomics offers you an experimentally and computationally verified database/platform for an economically productive, effective, and safe drug discovery program. Upload any designed structure/s into our platform and get a list of proteins and/or other macromolecules the designed molecule/s and resulting metabolites could inhibit or activate in the human system and/or in pathogenic organisms. The platform is derived from intensive experimental data involving macromolecules, drugs, synthetic libraries, natural products, and metabolites. It correlates molecular structures to their complete biological impact.

Idrees Mohammed

Department of Chemistry, New York University Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. E-mail: dr.idreesmohammed{at}yahoo.com

CREDIT: OTHER PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE AUTHORS

PERFECTALIZER Make physics equations valid!

ARE YOU TIRED of the equations of kinematics, thermodynamics, and statics being invalid? …The Perfectalizer…creates a perfect enviroment! All your ropes are massless, all your absorbers are perfect, all your emitters are perfect, all your pivots are frictionless, and you do not have to worry about air resistance! …“Perfect” is a subjective claim….The Perfectalizer has a very distinct look. Imagine God's face with Darwin's beard, wrapped in a controversy and smothered with hard plastic.

Noel I. Robles

Yuma, AZ 85364, USA. E-mail: noelrobles177{at}gmail.com

CREDIT: OTHER PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE AUTHORS

TIME MACHINE Improve your career prospects!

THIS PERSONAL, one-of-a-kind instrument allows you to instantly optimize experimental conditions and to perform experiments that always work the first time. As a result, your peers will be impressed by your ability to consistently generate and prove paradigm-shifting research hypotheses. This product also allows you to predict grant review panel and journal editor criticisms, preventing you from worrying about funding or struggling to publish. Limit of one Nobel Prize per user.

Michael G. Kemp

Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA. E-mail: michael_kemp{at}med.unc.edu

CREDIT: OTHER PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE AUTHORS

EPIPHANY GENERATOR Connect apparently unrelated concepts!

WHO'D HAVE thought that a light beam plus a falling elevator would lead to General Relativity? Or that magnetism plus a size-changing flask would lead to the Bose-Einstein condensate? Or that radar plus a metal container would lead to the microwave oven? The Epiphany Generator application throws concept words or pictures together, two at a time, on your screen! You make the connection. Doesn't make sense? Move on. Something new? Bingo! To survive academically, you must be creative and nonlinear. The Epiphany Generator can help.

Hemachander Subramanian

Integrated Mathematical Oncology Department, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL33612, USA. E-mail: hemachander{at}gmail.com

CREDIT: OTHER PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE AUTHORS

THE RISK METER Measure a project's ethical repercussions!

WHEN CONDUCTING research, it is imperative that you remain cognizant of the potential ethical dilemmas that may arise as a consequence of your discoveries. With this simple device, you can instantaneously gauge the risk level of unethical developments stemming from your work. Simply input your concept, and the Risk Meter assigns a numerical “risk number” to your current project! Armed with this knowledge, you can proceed forward with a more complete understanding of the potential of your research. The machine also serves as a gentle reminder for the ethics and obligations associated with scientific investigation.

Henry Zhou

Vagelos Scholars Program in the Molecular Life Sciences, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. E-mail: henryz{at}sas.upenn.edu

CREDIT: GUANG-MEI PHOTO

THE TOWER OF BABEL Remove knowledge barriers!

INTERDISCIPLINARY research has led to some of the most exciting innovations in the human history, such as quantum computing and 3D bioprinting, but is often hindered by jargon, background knowledge requirements, and experts' inability to appreciate advances in other fields. The Tower of Babel software leverages artificial intelligence and big data analytics to mine research articles, patents, and textbooks in all fields; answer your queries pertaining to other domains in plain language; actively point out newly developed technologies potentially relevant to your studies; and update its databases automatically. This software will facilitate interdisciplinary research by removing the knowledge barriers across disciplines.

Kun-Hsing Yu

Biomedical Informatics Training Program, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. E-mail: khyu{at}stanford.edu

CREDIT: OTHER PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE AUTHORS

TRANSLATE IT! SCIENCE EDITION Translate research for any audience!

HAVE YOU EVER faced blank stares at the dinner table when grandma asks you about your work? Have you spent countless hours on a presentation or grant application to target a multidisciplinary audience but still felt like they did not get it? Have you wished you had prepared your elevator speech when you ran into an unexpected investor? Then the Translate It! SCIENCE Edition software is right for you! This software translates Word and PowerPoint files to accessible language with the click of a button, and its mobile application helps you share your research with all when you are on the go.

Karina R. Vega-Villa

Wenatchee Valley College, Wenatchee, WA 98801, USA. E-mail: vegavilla1{at}gmail.com

CREDIT: PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE AUTHORS

SLEEP PAPER READER Read journal articles while sleeping!

OVERWHELMED BY papers? Having trouble keeping up with latest research? Are experiments taking too much time away from reading? No worries, Sleep Paper Reader (SPR) comes to the rescue! Simply wear the device while you sleep, and wake up with the latest publications all stuffed in your brain. You can even comment and share with friends in your dreams!…

Isaac T. S. Li

Center for the Physics of Living Cells, Department of Physics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA. E-mail: isaac.li{at}gmail.com

CREDIT: PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE AUTHORS

QKNOWLEDGE Keep up with current literature!

WE FIRMLY believe that scientists should spend less time diving into junk and more doing experiments…QKnowledge is an AI system that can parse publications, solve inconsistencies between them, and present them in a single easy-to-read document. Just power it on, connect it to the Internet and a printer, use your natural voice to tell it what you are looking for, and print the generated document.

Miguel Piñeiro Feick

Department of Neuroscience and Centro Interdisciplinario de Neurociencia de Valparaíso, Universidad de Valparaíso, Valparaíso, Chile. E-mail: miguel.pineiro{at}cinv.cl

CREDIT: PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE AUTHORS

WRI-ROBOT Write your paper in hours!

…WRI-ROBOT will process your raw data results into figures and tables according to your vision through a simple interactive process. Wri-Robot will then use your key ideas, conclusions, and suggested references to generate a manuscript free of plagiarism and of original writing quality. Imagine your paper being ready for submission within hours of collecting the last experimental results. With the Wri-Robot, you will be a much more productive scientist, always ready to start the next project.

Islam M. Mosa

Department of Chemistry, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA and Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt. E-mail: islam.mosa{at}uconn.edu

CREDIT: PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE AUTHORS

TURINGMAIL Intelligently respond to every e-mail!

FED UP with beginning every e-mail reply with an apology for your slow response? Let TuringMail free you from this burden of guilt. TuringMail is the first automated, intelligent e-mail response service, fooling colleagues or students into believing you're an attentive collaborator or tutor. Every commitment TuringMail makes on your behalf will be carefully calibrated to ensure the most favorable cost/benefit ratio according to your diary and specified career priorities. To ensure TuringMail's deceptive ability, in addition to a monthly fee, users must answer one e-mail per week as a contribution to TuringMail's central knowledge base.

Rory Bingham

School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, BS8 1SS, UK. E-mail: rory.bingham{at}bristol.ac.uk

CREDIT: PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE AUTHORS

PEER-REVIEWER FILTER CRÈME Filter out bad peer reviewers!

WORKED HARD FOR over a year on a paper? Feel like your reviewers are missing the point? Then purchase the new peer-reviewer filter crème today! Simply apply to your manuscript, rub in, and watch as your publication number goes up!…

Dan Hewitt

Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Bangor, LL57 1AH, UK. E-mail: vulpesvulpes{at}live.co.uk

CREDIT: PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE AUTHORS

HOPE GENERATOR Find hope when you have none!

DID YOU LOSE your way in your research? Haven't got any publishable results? This product is for you. The pocket size device generates hope to continue your meaningless research by creating artificial hope for you. By affecting your emotional state on a daily basis, it encourages you to carry on. Don't wait for the inspiration to come. It never will. Just keep calm and use the Hope Generator.…

Emre Ozan Polat

Department of Electronics and Nanoscale Engineering, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G128QQ, UK. E-mail: emreozan.polat{at}glasgow.ac.uk

CREDIT: CREDIT: MARKO BERIC

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