The chief technology officer and vice president of Agilent Laboratories, Darlene Solomon, has outlined what she sees as the future of measurement technology. Agilent is the world’s premier measurement company for the critical requirements for electronic and bio-analytical measurement.
Solomon says, "We've identified three over-arching themes that are likely to drive new measurement technology innovation.
Near-to-Sample Measurement -- The world needs dedicated, near-to-sample, and easy-to-use measurements in order to make timely decisions and take action. It is often more desirable to obtain measurement understanding near to where the sample has meaning -- at the well that provides drinking water for example -- as compared to sending that sample to a centralized laboratory and waiting to receive the analysis.
This is increasingly important in health care where infectious diseases are re-emerging with accelerated reach and consumer-directed health care initiatives create new opportunities for decentralized biological measurements and consumer-diagnostic products. Mobile phones, which are now used mostly for communications and entertainment, might become another device for bio-analytical measurement. Imagine if cell phones could collect health information that indicates when you need to see your doctor.
Wireless, Low-cost, Pervasive Measurements -- The world needs distributed, wireless, low-cost, networked measurements for communication and to address large-scale problems like climate change, energy distribution and the health of critical infrastructure such as transportation and water systems. Integrating information from a large number of distributed sensors can provide early indication of issues that may need special attention.
For example, increasing population, urbanization and standards of living stress the ability to supply resources such as water and agricultural products. Increasing urbanization also brings transportation congestion. Even in cities that make vast investments in public transport, road congestion is increasing dramatically with population and economic activity. A traffic monitoring and management solution with networked low-cost sensors could map and communicate traffic patterns and highlight areas that need increased management.
At the same time, carbon emissions and energy usage are contributing to critical global climate changes. Measurement solutions that entail extensive distributed networks of reliable, low-cost sensors can help monitor and manage these large-scale challenges that require careful planning and distribution.
Data Management Systems for Insight -- In this digital age, huge amounts of heterogeneous data are available across industries. As customer problems become more complex, data-types from multiple measurement sources will need to be integrated and visualized in innovative ways in order to facilitate insight. To extract knowledge and insight from this vast amount of data, we will need more sophisticated data management and visualization systems.
Improved data analysis systems will, for example, increase our understanding of biological complexity and treatment of disease. Today we are just on the cusp of being able to measure, model and understand living systems in terms of the complex and dynamic interplay of many biological pathways. Ultimately, with this understanding will come a next generation of personalized medicine and molecular diagnostics. We'll be able to classify complex diseases more accurately and develop therapeutic drugs with higher efficacy and reduced side effects."
The complete text of Darlene Solomon's interview is available for viewing on the Agilent website here.