How to build a Lab

Easily create a digitized version of your lab's instruments and labware with LabNavigator Labs.

The foundation of LabNavigator is the Digital Twin. By creating a Digital Twin, you can use it to guide operators through manual steps and monitor the state of your instruments. To enable this, we've built Labs - a visualization tool that lets you build and digitally represent your physical lab. 

To help you get started, this article explains how to:

How to Organize Labs in LabNavigator

You will want to build LabNavigator Labs based on your workflows. While a LabNavigator Lab can support multiple workflows, a workflow cannot span across multiple Labs.

So, if you want to manage your requests and schedules together, those instruments and systems need to be in the same LabNavigator Lab. 

Otherwise, your preference for operations monitoring will dictate how you organize labs in LabNavigator.

Each Lab has its own LabOps card, so you can see its status at a high level upon logging in. Upon clicking into the LabOps card, you can see a more granular view of the lab's status. 


Common Approaches

  • Build Labs based on the physical rooms: Each LabNavigator Lab will represent an entire room of instruments and integrated systems. Users typically take this approach to monitor a whole functional lab. 
  • Build Labs based on specific workcells or instruments: Each LabNavigator Lab will only represent a subset of instruments and integrated systems in a room. Users typically take this approach for more granular monitoring details for specific systems. 

If you change your mind about how you want to organize your Labs, you can easily copy and paste the Digital Twin between Labs. If your Lab is already running LabNavigator Workflows, you will need support from Tecan to make this change. 

How to create a new Lab

To create a new lab:

  1. Click on Labs on the left-hand applications panel
  2. Click on +
  3. Name your lab and press Continue

You are now in the Labs application.


Upon opening a lab, you will see the following:

  1. Asset List that lists all the assets represented in your Digital Twin
  2. Lab Scene where you drag and drop models to build your Digital Twin 
  3. Labs Toolbar that provides access to the equipment library and other features 
  4. Navigation Hints that show relevant camera navigation or asset manipulation depending on your current selection


How to start building Labs

Building a new lab is easy! You only need to drag and drop instruments from the equipment library. You will use the Labs Toolbar in the top right corner to do this.

Labs Toolbar

In the top right corner of Labs, you will find the Labs Toolbar that features four functions for building a lab:


Adding models

From the Labs Toolbar, you can open the asset library. You can search for specific instruments or browse the library based on brand. There are also custom models such as "custom furniture" or "custom object." 

We recommend starting your lab by building out the tables and then adding instruments on top of the tabletop or shelves.

As you drag models out, you'll see green sockets light up in the scene to show where a model can automatically attach. 

Related Equipment

To make Labs building easy, when you have a model selected, the Equipment Library has a "Related Equipment" section at the top to show other models that can attach to the selected model. This is particularly helpful when building complex liquid handler deck layouts. 

Don't see your lab instrument or have a custom model?
You can contact our customer service team to let them know the brand and model of the instrument. If you already have an existing STEP/STL file, just send it to us, and we'll add it! 

Asset List

After you've added models to your Lab, you can see the list of models on the far left-hand panel. The search function can narrow the list to a specific model.

As you add items and they attach to tables or instruments, the list collapses into a hierarchy that can be expanded to show all the items attached to a specific table or instrument. 

How to navigate the camera

Right mouse clicks will allow you to navigate your camera. More specifically, you can:

  • Rotate your camera with Right Mouse Click + Drag
  • Pan your camera with Shift + Right Mouse Click + Drag
  • Zoom in/out with your Scroll Wheel
  • Zoom into a specific asset by Double Right Mouse Clicking on the asset

How to interact with and modify assets  

Moving and interacting with assets 

    Left mouse clicks will allow you to select and interact with your assets. More specifically, you can:  

    • Select an item by clicking on it
    • Multi-select items with Shift + Click on each asst
      • You can also drag a box to select multiple assets by left clicking and dragging a box around the assets 

    Once assets are selected, you can:

    • Move assets around with Left Click + Drag
    • Rotate assets around by:
      • Pressing "R" on the keyboard to turn on rotation and drag your mouse
        • To stop rotating, Left Click
        • To cancel and undo the rotation, press Escape
      • Click the rotation ring and drag
    • Delete assets with Backspace or Delete
    • Copy assets with Ctrl (Cmd) + C
    • Paste assets with Ctrl (Cmd) + V
    • Cut assets with Ctrl (Cmd) + X
    • Interact with an asset's joints by clicking on them 

    For cases where you need to make multiple copies of the same asset, hold OptionThen, drag your mouse to where you want to paste the copy and hit the spacebar.

    This is particularly helpful for building a storage configuration or liquid handler deck layout with repeating cassettes or nests. You can drag your mouse to the socket and hit the spacebar to lock it in. 

    Customize assets

    Some assets in the library can be customized, such as custom furniture, objects, and labware. Once you've added the asset to your scene:

    • Select the asset
    • Click the edit tool
    • Click on Details
      • From there, you will see all your options for customizing items. 

    Custom Furniture - listed under "Artificial" in the equipment library

    • Dimensions: Change the Length, Width, and Height 
    • Shelves: Add any number of shelves at different heights with varying thicknesses
    • Sides: Add side panels to the table on the left, right, or back side

    Custom Objects - listed under "Artificial" in the equipment library

    • Shape: Select Box or Cylinder
    • Dimensions 
      • For the Box, you can change the length, width, and height.
      • For the Cylinder, you can change the radius and height. 

    Labware - found with the "Containers" filter in the Equipment Library

    • Color: Change the color of the model 

    Rename models 

    For any model in Labs, you can edit the name to match your preferred naming convention. 

    1. Select the model 
    2. Click the Edit tool in the Labs Toolbar
    3. Rename it in Name


    Further help

    For further help, please refer to our Helpdesk.


    Link to Tecan Product Page

    LabNavigatorTM page