List of Laboratory automation terminology

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A Labautopedia compendium of general words and terms related to laboratory automation. Click on linked terms for more detail. Refer to the Contributing section for author information.

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Comprehensive lists of specialized industry terms. Some terms are not totally relevant to laboratory automation, but are worth understanding.


  • Absolute location: A programmed location in the robot's work envelope defined by specific coordinates.
  • Acceleration:  Rate of change of the velocity at the point under consideration per unit of time.
  • Accuracy (in Robotics):  The degree to which actual position corresponds to desired or commanded position; the degree of freedom from error. Accuracy involves the capability to hit a mark, or reach the point in space, or get the correct answer; repeatability is the ability to duplicate an action or a result every time. Accuracy of a robot is determined by three elements of the system: the resolution of the control system, the inaccuracies or imprecision of the mechanical linkages and gears and beam deflections under different load conditions, and the minimum error that must be tolerated to operate the arm under closed servoloop operation. Accuracy refers to the degree of closeness to a "correct" value; precision refers to the degree ofpreciseness of a measurement. Accuracy is frequently confused with precision.
  • Active Accommodation:  Integration of sensors, control, and robot motion to achieve alteration of a robot's preprogrammed motions in response to sensed forces.
  • Actuator:  A motor or transducer that converts electrical, hydraulic, or pneumatic energy into motion.
  • Adaptive Control:  A control algorithm or technique in which the controller can change its control parameters and performance characteristics in response to its environment and experience.
  • Arm (in Robotics):  An interconnected set of links and powered joints comprising a manipulator that supports or moves a wrist or end-effector.
  • Articulated Robot: A type of robotic arm whose joints are all revolute.   
  • Articulated Structure (in Robotics):  Set of links and joints that constitute the arm and the wrist.
  • Articulation (in Robotics):  The manner and actions of jointing in a robot. The greater the number, the easier it is for a robot to move and attain any position. Types of articulations are fixed beam, linear joint, ball joint, round joint revolute or pin joint, and other. They vary in the number of degrees of freedom
  • Asynchronous transmission:  A mode of electronic communication that uses start and stop bits to signify the beginning bit ASCII character would actually be transmitted using 10 bits e.g.: A "0100 0001" would become "1 0100 0001 0". The extra one (or zero depending on parity bit) at the start and end of the transmission tells the receiver first that a character is coming and secondly that the character has ended. This method of transmission is used when data are sent intermittently as opposed to in a solid stream. In the previous example the start and stop bits are in bold. The start and stop bits must be of opposite polarity. This allows the receiver to recognize when the second packet of information is being sent.
  • 'Automatic End-Effector Exchanger':  A coupling device between the mechanical interface of the robot and the end-effector enabling automatic exchange of end-effectors.
  • Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC): Refers to the methods of automatically identifying objects, collecting data about them, and entering that data directly into computer systems (i.e. without human involvement). Technologies typically considered as part of AIDC include bar codes, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), biometrics, magnetic stripes, Optical Character Recognition (OCR), smart cards, and voice recognition. AIDC is also commonly referred to as “Automatic Identification,” “Auto-ID,” and "Automatic Data Capture."
  • Automated Liquid Handling Workstation: An automated workstation specifically designed for transferring aliquots of liquids from one vessel to another. 
  • Automated Liquid Handler (ALH): See Automated Liquid Handling Workstation
  • Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS): Refers to a variety of computer-controlled methods for automatically depositing and retrieving loads from defined storage locations. Systems of this nature have been used for years in manufacturing and warehouse facilities.
  • Automated Workcell: A special case of an integrated system.  Preconfigured, often available commercially off-the-shelf as a standard system for a given type of or class of sample processing.  As compared to custom, one-off integrated systems, workcells tend to be more compact because of more focused and on-going engineering efforts, and may not be as easily reconfigured outside of the pre-defined process focus.  Otherwise, workcells are integrated systems, e.g. employing multiple devices and workstations linked by an automated sample transport system, and coordinated via a workstation controller (often a PC).  Often a liquid handling workstation is a key component of a workcell.
  • Automated Workstation: A laboratory instrument that is capable of performing a limited set (as few as two) of Laboratory Unit Operations (LUO's) in an automated mode, typically of a scale to fit onto a typical laboratory bench.
  • Autoanalyzer:  A Continuous Flow Analysis (CFA) or Segmented Flow Analysis (SFA) analyzer developed by Leonard Skeggs and marketed by Technicon Corporation in 1957. 
  • Axis (in Robotics):  A direction used to specify the robot motion in a linear or rotary mode.


  • Bar CodeAn optical machine-readable representation of data. One dimensional (1D), bar codes or symbologies represent data in the widths (lines) and the spacings of parallel lines. Two dimensional (2D) symbologies represent data in patterns of squares, dots, hexagons and other geometric patterns or matrix codes. It is important to note that both the patterns (lines, squares, dots, etc.) and spacings constitute the data encodation schema.
  • Beta Test: A period in the development of hardware, software or website where it is tested by large groups of people who would be typical users. Sometimes there is an "open beta" where anyone is welcome to join. Sometimes it is a "closed beta" where you can only join by invitation. Either way, participants use the product normally and often report back on any problems they have (bugs) or with feedback on basic usability and navigation. Beta testing follows a period called an alpha test. Typically, you can expect that by the beta test, the product will be usable, although it may have fewer features available.
  • Biobank: Also known as a biorepository, is a place that collects, stores, processes and distributes biological materials and the data associated with those materials. Typically, those “biological materials” are human biospecimens – such as tissue or blood - and the “data” are the clinical information pertaining to the donor of that biospecimen. A biobank can also include tissues from other animals, cell and bacterial cultures, and even environmental samples.
  • Biometrics: The automated method of recognizing a person based on a physiological or behavioral characteristic. Biometric technologies are becoming the foundation of an extensive array of highly secure identification and personal verification solutions.
  • Bleeding Edge: Technology showing high potential, but yet to demonstrate value or practicality.  The user is required to risk reductions in stability and productivity in order to use it.
  • BLOB Analysis: A BLOB is a binary large object, a collection of binary data stored as a single entity in a database management system. Blobs are typically images, audio or other multimedia objects.  In image analysis a blob is an area of touching pixels with the same logical state. All pixels in an image that belong to a blob are in a foreground state. All other pixels are in a background state. In a binary image, pixels in the background have values equal to zero while every nonzero pixel is part of a binary object. Blob analysis is used to detect blobs in an image, which may then be aggregated using recognition software as identified entities, such as characters or objects. 


  • Capacitive sensors: Noncontact devices capable of high-resolution measurement of the position and/or change of position of any conductive target. Their function is based on the difference in dielectric constant between the sensor surface and the material being detected.
  • Cartesian robot:  A type of robotic arm that is formed by 3 prismatic joints, whose axes are coincident with the X, Y and Z planes.  This offers very simple kinematic equations. 
  • Check digit: A form of redundancy check used for error detection, the decimal equivalent of a binary checksum. It consists of a single digit computed from the other digits in the message.  Commonly used as part of a digital communications packet or word, including bar codes.  See the LabAutopedia articles Bar Code Labelsand Electronic interfaces/RS-232.
  • With a check digit, one can detect simple errors in the input of a series of digits, such as a single mistyped digit, or the permutation of two successive digits.
    Code 128: A high-density barcode symbology, used extensively in the laboratory. It can encode all 128 characters of ASCII and has a maximum character density of about 18 characters/inch.  See the LabAutopedia article Bar Code Symbologies.
  • Controller Area Network (CAN): The controller-area network (CAN or CAN-bus) is a computer network protocol and bus standard designed to allow microcontrollers and devices to communicate with each other without a host computer. It was designed specifically for automotive applications but is now also used in other embedded control applications . Development of the CAN-bus started originally in 1983 at Robert Bosch GmbH.[1] The protocol was officially released in 1986 at the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) congress in Detroit. The first CAN controller chips, produced by Intel and Philips, came on the market in 1987. Bosch published the CAN 2.0 specification in 1991. CAN is a broadcast, differential serial bus standard for connecting electronic control units (ECUs). Each node is able to send and receive messages, but not simultaneously: a message (consisting primarily of an ID — usually chosen to identify the message-type/sender — and up to eight message bytes) is transmitted serially onto the bus, one bit after another — this signal-pattern codes the message (in NRZ) and is sensed by all nodes.  The devices that are connected by a CAN network are typically sensors, actuators and control devices. A CAN message never reaches these devices directly, but instead a host-processor and a CAN Controller is needed between these devices and the bus.
    Charge Coupled Device (CCD): An analog device consisting of an array of photosensitive diodes.  When light strikes the chip it is held as a small electrical charge in each photo sensor. The charges are converted to voltage one pixel at a time as they are read from the chip. Additional circuitry in the camera converts the voltage into digital information.
  • Complementary Metal–Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS): A type of active pixel sensor made using the CMOS semiconductor process. Extra circuitry next to each photo sensor converts the light energy to a voltage. Additional circuitry on the chip converts the voltage to digital data.
  • Command Language: A command language includes a set of functions that instructs the instrument to perform actions at a higher conceptual level.  Coordinating the actions of an instrument rarely involves the direct control of its parts. Instead, instrument manufactures provide some form of command language that ensures the instrument's components operates in a coordinated manner. 
  • Cryogenic Preservation: Maintenance of the viability of excised tissues or organs by freezing at extremely low temperatures.
  • Cylindrical robot: A type of robotic arm that is able to rotate along his main axes forming a cylindrical shape.  Well suited to straight-line vertical and radial horizontal motions


  • Data Matrix: A two-dimensional matrix barcode consisting of black and white square modules arranged in either a square or rectangular pattern. The information to be encoded can be text or raw data. Usual data size is from a few bytes up to 2 kilobytes. The length of the encoded data depends on the symbol dimension used. Error correction codes are added to increase symbol strength: even if they are partially damaged, they can still be read. A Data Matrix symbol can store up to 2,335 alphanumeric characters.  See the Labautopedia article Bar Code Symbologies
  • DB-25 Connector: A D-subminiature wiring connector named for its "B"-size "D"-shaped shell and 25 pins. The DB-25 connector is used commonly for RS-232/EIA-232 (serial) connections, the parallel printer interface on the IBM PC and for SCSI connections.
  • Device: A laboratory instrument or tool that is capable of performing only one LUO.  For instance, a motorized sirrer or a vortexer performs one LUO, mixing.  A simple incubator or a hot plate performs one LUO, incubation.


  • End Effector:  Any device mounted to the end of a robot arm that is used to manipulate its environment.
  • Ethernet: A physical and data link layer technology for local area networks (LANs). Ethernet is standardized as IEEE 802.3. The combination of the twisted pair versions of Ethernet for connecting end systems to the network, along with the fiber optic versions for site backbones, is the most widespread wired LAN technology. When first widely deployed in the 1980s, Ethernet supported a maximum theoretical data rate of 10 megabits per second (Mbps). Later, Fast Ethernet standards increased this maximum data rate to 100 Mbps. Today, Gigabit Ethernet technology further extends peak performance up to 1000 Mbps.



  • Gantry Robot: A Cartesian coordinate robot whose X and Y axes have been elevated, usually with the goal of creating a workspace below the XY plane. 
  • GPIB: See IEEE-488.
  • Gripper: A kind of robotic end effector used to grip and manipulate an object within a robot's work envelope.


  • Hall effect sensor: A transducer that varies its output voltage in response to changes in magnetic field. Hall sensors are used for proximity switching, positioning, speed detection, and current sensing applications. Hall sensors are commonly used to time the speed of wheels and shafts.
  • HPIB: See IEEE-488.


  • IEEE-488: A short-range, digital communications bus specification. The IEEE-488 bus was developed to connect and control programmable instruments, and to provide a standard interface for communication between instruments from different sources, and is still widely used for test and measurement equipment today. Hewlett-Packard originally developed the interfacing technique, and called it HP-IB. The interface quickly gained popularity in the computer industry. Because the interface was so versatile, the IEEE committee renamed it GPIB (General Purpose interface Bus).
  • IEEE-1394: A serial bus interface standard for high-speed communications and isochronous real-time data transfer, frequently used in a personal computer, digital audio and digital video. The 1394 digital link standard was conceived in 1986 by technologists at Apple Computer, who chose the trademark 'FireWire', in reference to its speeds of operation. The first specification for this link was completed in 1987. It was adopted in 1995 as the IEEE 1394 standard. The interface is also known by the brand names of i.LINK (Sony) and Lynx (Texas Instruments). FireWire can connect up to 63 peripherals in a tree topology and allows peer-to-peer device communication — such as communication between a scanner and a printer — to take place without using system memory or the CPU.
  • Inductive sensor: A non-contact device which detects metallic objects.  Electric current in an induction loop generates a magnetic field, which collapses generating a current. The inductance of the loop changes according to the material inside it and since metals are much more effective inductors than other materials the presence of metal increases the current flowing through the loop. This current change can be converted to a signal to indicate the presence of an inductive material, such as metal.
  • Integrated System:  A laboratory automation system consisting of multiple discrete devices or workstations, connected by one or more general-purpose automated transport devices. Such systems are capable of performing many LUO's. They are custom configured for a specific application and are often reconfigurable or expandable, but most likely not in a totally plug-and-play manner.



  • Kramer, Gary:  Charter member of the ALA.  1985 awardee of the Pioneer in Laboratory Robotics award.  Grand old man of automation. 


  • Laboratory Automation: A multi-disciplinary strategy to research, develop, optimize and capitalize on technologies in the laboratory that enable new and improved processes. Laboratory automation professionals are academic, commercial and government researchers, scientists and engineers who conduct research and develop new technologies to increase productivity, elevate experimental data quality, reduce lab process cycle times, or enable experimentation that otherwise would be impossible.
  • Lab-on-a-chip: (Bio)chemical and biological processing in microfluidic-based systems. 
  • Laboratory Unit Operation (LUO):  A sequence of common laboratory steps or functions that when combined become a "unit" operation. LUO's then become the building blocks for all laboratory procedures. [1]
  • Laser Scanners: A optical scanning device used for reading bar codes, using a laser beam as the light source and typically employing either a reciprocating mirror or a rotating prism to scan the laser beam back and forth across the bar code. A photodiode is used to measure the intensity of the light reflected back from the bar code. The light emitted by the reader is tuned to a specific frequency and the photodiode is designed to detect only this modulated light of the same frequency. See the LabAutopedia article Bar Code Printing. 
  • Leading Edge: Technology proven in marketplace but with few knowledgeable personnel to implement or support it.  Less risky than Bleeding Edge, but still poses measurable risk of instability and difficulty of support.  More risky than State-of-the-Art.  
  • Lean: Lean Manufacturing or lean production, often known simply as "Lean", is a production practice that considers the expenditure of resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end customer to be wasteful, and thus a target for elimination. In a more basic term, More value with less work. Lean manufacturing is a generic process management philosophy derived mostly from the Toyota Production System (TPS) (hence the term Toyotism is also prevalent) and identified as "Lean" only in the 1990s
  • Lean Sigma: A combination of two distinct process improvement techniques. Lean (sometimes called Lean Thinking or Lean Transformation) focuses on eliminating waste and delivering customer value in the shortest possible timescale. Six Sigma focuses on understanding variation (especially of quality of product or service) in a process and driving to progressively higher levels of consistency. Lean Sigma (sometimes called Lean Six Sigma) combines the two techniques to deliver increased quality at an increased speed and at a reduced cost. Simulation allows you to analyse your lab in a virtual environment and test process improvement ideas.
  • Light Curtain: A device which uses an array of photoelectric sensors to detect the presence of an object. Light curtains are commonly used with industrial equipment to 1) ensure machine safety at a point of operation control, area access control, or perimeter access, or 2) detect object size in a plane.
  • Level sensor: A device used to detect liquid or solid level.  In laboratory automation, the material is usually contained in a vessel or tubing and is most commonly a liquid.  The suitable level sensor for a given application depends on a number of variables: dielectric constant of the material, density or specific gravity of material, vessel composition size and shape, temperature, pressure, agitation or movement, and acoustical or electrical noise.&
  • Liquid Handler: See Automated Liquid Handling Workstation. 
  • Liquid level tracking: The capability of most automated liquid handlers to either track the level of the liquid being aspirated or dispensed in order to prevent aspirating air.
  • Load Cell: A force transducer sensor that converts a force indirectly into an electrical signal. Through a mechanical arrangement, the force being sensed deforms a strain gauge. The strain gauge converts the deformation (strain) to electrical signals, which in turn can be calibrated and used to calculate force, mass, or weight


  • Mean-Time-Between-Failure(MTBF): The mean (average) time between failures of a system, including the time of repair and recovery from such failures. 
  • Mean-Time-To-Failure (MTTF): The mean (average) time the system is operable from start of operations before the first failure occurs.
  • Microarray: A 2D array, typically on a glass, filter, or silicon wafer, upon which DNA or DNA fragments, proteins, antibodies, tissues, or small molecules are deposited or synthesized in a predetermined spatial order allowing them to be made available as probes in a high-throughput, parallel manner.
  • Microfluidic: Deals with the behavior, precise control and manipulation of fluids that are geometrically constrained to a small, typically sub-millimeter scale. 
  • Micro Total Analysis Systems (MicroTAS): A flowing stream based analysis system that integrates one or several laboratory functions on a single microchip of a few square centimeters in size.
  • Microwave sensors: Also known as radar sensors, are non-contact devices based on "time-of-flight" measurements of the outgoing and reflected signal. Microwave sensors are executed at various frequencies, from 1 GHz to 30 GHz. Generally, the higher the frequency, the more accurate, and the more costly. Microwaves will penetrate temperature and vapor layers that may cause problems for other techniques, such as ultrasonic. Microwaves are electromagnetic energy and therefore do not require air molecules to transmit the energy making them useful in vacuums
  • Monomast: When referring to a robotic arm, is component that is of a rigid, non-collapsing construction. 
  • Motion sensor: A device that contains a physical mechanism or electronic sensor that quantifies motion that can be either integrated with or connected to other devices that alert the user of the presence of a moving object within the field of view. Motion sensors can be based on optical, acoustic, or electromagnetic sensors.
  • Microdialysis: A sampling technique based on concentration dependant diffusion across a dialysis membrane


  • Nanodiamond; Carbon-based nanoparticles that can be applied towards the delivery of a broad array of therapeutics 


  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR): The mechanical or electronic translation of images of handwritten, typewritten or printed text (usually captured by a scanner) into machine-editable text.
  • Optical Sensor: Contactless devices that detect the presence or intensity of light and convert that to an electrical signal.  Active optical sensors detect the decrease or change in transmission of light emitted from a laser or diode (LED).  Passive optical sensors detect natural energy (radiation) that is emitted or reflected by the object or scene being observed.


  • PDF417: A stacked linear bar code symbol used in a variety of applications, primarily transport, identification cards, and inventory management. PDF stands for Portable Data File, and the symbology consists of 17 modules each containing 4 bars and spaces (thus the number "417").  PDF417 barcode uses Reed Solomon error correction, which allows the symbol to withstand some damage without causing loss of data. This high level of error correction is more advanced than linear barcodes with check digits. See the LabAutopedia article Bar Code Symbologies.
  • Prismatic Joint: A robotic joint with one degree of tranlation, i.e. non-rotating. 
  • Proteomics: Study of proteins


  • Quiet Zone/Margin of a bar code: The quiet zone is the space preceding the first bar and trailing the last bar. This is also sometimes referred to as the "no print" zone. Generally, the quiet zone must be a minimum of 10 times the width of the narrow bar. If text or a graphic encroaches into this space, the bar code scanner may not be able to read the bar code


  • Radio Frequency ID (RFID): An automatic identification method, relying on storing and remotely retrieving data using radio frequency activated ID circuits (tags) or transponders.  Most RFID tags contain at least two parts. One is an integrated circuit for storing and processing information, modulating and demodulating a (RF) signal, and other specialized functions. The second is an antenna for receiving and transmitting the signal. Chipless RFID allows for discrete identification of tags without an integrated circuit, thereby allowing tags to be printed directly onto assets at a lower cost than traditional tags.
  • Relative location: A programmed location in the robot's work envelope that is relative to some other robot location, frequently an absolute location.
  • Return on Investment (ROI):For a given use of money in an enterprise, the ROI (return on investment) is how much profit or cost saving is realized.  See the LabAutopedia article Justifying Laboratory Automation.
  • Revolute Joint: A robotic joint capable of rotation. 
  • Robotic Arm: An interconnected set of links and powered joints comprising a manipulator that supports or moves a wrist or end-effector.


  • SCARA robot: Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm.  A robot configuration devised specifically for assembly work. It consists of two or more revolute joints and one prismatic, all of which operate parallel to gravity, easing the mechanical burden. As the name indicates, this configuration has been designed to offer variable compliance in horizontal directions, which can be an advantage in assembly tasks.
  • Six Sigma: A business management strategy, originally developed by Motorola, that today enjoys widespread application in many sectors of industry. Six Sigma seeks to identify and remove the causes of defects and errors in manufacturing and business processes. It uses a set of quality management methods, including statistical methods, and creates a special infrastructure of people within the organization ("Black Belts" etc.) who are experts in these methods. Each Six Sigma project carried out within an organization follows a defined sequence of steps and has quantified financial targets (cost reduction or profit increase).
  • Small Computer System Interface (SCSI): [2](skuh-zee) A set of standards for physically connecting and transferring data between computers and peripheral devices. The SCSI standards define commands, protocols, and electrical and optical interfaces. SCSI is most commonly used for hard disks and tape drives, but it can connect a wide range of other devices, including scanners and CD drives. The SCSI standard defines command sets for specific peripheral device types; the presence of "unknown" as one of these types means that in theory it can be used as an interface to almost any device, but the standard is highly pragmatic and addressed toward commercial requirements.  SCSI is based on an older, proprietary bus interface called Shugart Associates System Interface (SASI). SASI was originally developed in 1981 by Shugart Associates in conjunction with NCR Corporation. In 1986, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) ratified SCSI (pronounced "scuzzy"), a modified version of SASI.
  • Site Acceptance Testing (SAT):  System testing done at the final operational site or location.  In the case of laboratory automation, the locations should be the laboratory where the system will be used. 
  • State-of-the-art: Technology which everyone agrees is the right solution.  The highest operational level of development, of a device, technique, or scientific field, achieved at a particular time.  Less risky than Bleeding Edge or Leading Edge.
  • Switch: Contact-based mechanical devices used to connect and disconnect an electric circuit at will. Switches may take several forms, with the simplest consisting of two pieces of metal called contacts that touch to make a circuit, and separate to break the circuit.
  • Synchronous transmission: A mode of electronic communication that uses no start and stop bits but instead synchronizes transmission speeds at both the receiving and sending end of the transmission using clock signals built into each component. A continual stream of data is then sent between the two nodes. Due to there being no start and stop bits the data transfer rate is quicker although more errors will occur, as the clocks will eventually get out of sync, and the receiving device would have the wrong time that had been agreed in protocol (computing) for sending/receiving data, so some bytes could become corrupted (by losing bits). Ways to get around this problem include re-synchronization of the clocks and use of check digits to ensure the byte is correctly interpreted and received.


  • Thermal sensor: A device to measure temperature either by contact or indirectly. Contact temperature sensors measure their own temperature. One infers the temperature of the object to which the sensor is in contact by assuming or knowing that the two are in thermal equilibrium, that is, there is no heat flow between them. Contact sensors include Thermocouples, Thermistors and Resistance Temperature Detectors.  Noncontact temperature sensors measure the thermal radiant power of the Infrared or Optical radiation that they receive from a known or calculated area on its surface, or a known or calculated volume within it. The output signal is evaluated according to a calibration for the IR spectrum of a specific type of matter to be observed.
  • Thermal transfer printer: A printer which prints on paper (or some other material) by melting a coating of ribbon so that it stays glued to the material on which the print is applied. It contrasts with Direct Thermal printing where no ribbon is present in the process.[3]. Commonly used for printing bar code labels.  See the LabAutopedia article Bar Code Printing. 


  • Ultrasonic sensor:  A non-contact device which uses the sonar principal in air, sending out an ultrasonic chirp, then switching to the receive mode to detect a return echo from the surface of the target. With the speed of sound in air (or other gas) as a given, distance to the target can be calculated.
  • Unimation Inc.: The worlds first robot manufacturing company, founded in 1956 by Joseph Engleberger and George Devol.  First robotic product was the Unimate. 
  • Universal Serial Bus (USB): A serial bus standard to interface devices to a host computer. USB was designed to replace many legacy serial and parallel interfaces and allow many peripherals to be connected using a single standardized interface socket. The design of USB is standardized by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), an industry standards body formed in 1995 to support and accelerate market and consumer adoption of USB-compliant peripherals. The USB 1.0 specification model was introduced in November 1995.  The current (as of 2008) USB 2.0 specification[4], with a design data rate of 480 megabits per second, was released in April 2000 and was standardized by the USB-IF at the end of 2001.  A draft specification for USB 3.0 (data rate of 4.8 Gbit/s (600 MB/s)) was released by Intel and its partners in August 2008. According to Intel, bus speeds will be 10 times faster than USB 2.0 due to the inclusion of a fibre-optic link that works with traditional copper connectors. Products using the 3.0 specification are likely to arrive in 2009 or 2010.


  • Voice Recognition: The computing task of validating a user's claimed identity using characteristics extracted from their voices.  There is a difference between speaker recognition (recognizing who is speaking) and speech recognition (recognizing what is being said). These two terms are frequently confused, as is voice recognition. Voice recognition is a synonym for speaker, and thus not speech, recognition. In addition, there is a difference between the act of authentication (commonly referred to as speaker verification or speaker authentication) and identification.


  • Workstation:  See Automated Workstation 
  • Workcell:  See Automated Workcell.
  • Work envelope: In robotics, the working envelope or work area is the volume of working or reaching space . Some factors of a robot's design (configurations, axes or degrees of freedom) influence its working envelope..[5]




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  1. Laboratory Robotics; VCH Publishers, 1987, W. Jeffrey Hurst and James W. Mortimer
  2. How SCSI Works How Stuff Works
  3. What Are Direct Thermal and Thermal Transfer RFID Printers?, RFID Radio
  4. USB 2.0 Specification

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