Sciar wants to bring better documentation to the laboratories through modern tech solutions
In laboratories around the world, there is the same problem: as research is being conducted, the documentation of the research findings is frequently compromised in some manner. Science requires accurate, detailed information – but extracting that raw data from the labs is surprisingly difficult.
Kristian Alaviuhkola, Co-Founder of Sciar Company Ltd, says that the challenge here has to do with old-school tools: relying on paper and pen, for instance, to get the results down and onwards to a database
“With digitalization, you can build processes which bring automatic documentation tools to the laboratory environment,” he says.
Sciar has created a Quality Management software which utilizes automated documentation, as well as an Augmented Reality workflow tool, to rectify the problem.
“Once the data is correct, you’re able to repeat the same experiment and get the same results – which is not always the case today.”
As errors are recognized and minimized, repeatability improves – thus boosting the quality of the research itself. “Our goal is to enhance the quality of the researcher’s work as well as the quality of the data.”
Plan & execute
The Sciar product is two-fold: there is the Sciar cloud-based software and then the Sciar mobile application.
“The software plans the processes in the lab beforehand and manages them. The software is both interactive and intuitive in providing the lab worker with instructions on what to do from a documentation viewpoint.”
The Sciar app completes the picture, making sure the lab worker moves from one work phase to another one in a correct manner. The app is presently being developed and it’s coming soon to Android smart phones and pads.
“Right now, we’re still using AR glasses to achieve the same documentation effect, but we’re expecting the mobile app to be even more helpful for our customers.”
According to Alaviuhkola, as long as you automate the workflow and dataflow, the emerging information will be solid through-and-through. “When you report the findings correctly in each case, that makes the scientists’ lives so much easier.”
The origin of Sciar dates back to 2017 when Alaviuhkola got together with fellow students Joel Noutere and Felix Erkinheimo. They wondered why are laboratories documenting their findings like it’s the Middle Ages – is there a chance for digitalization to rectify the situation?
“We interviewed hundreds of scientists and other professionals to find out, was this a real problem or just something in our heads. Turned out, it was real.”
As a consequence, the three partners founded Sciar in July 2018. The fledgling company picked up momentum in December 2019, as it started a pilot with the University of Helsinki to study automated documentation.
“What we need next is a solid commercial pilot to determine product market fit,” Alaviuhkola says, adding that negotiations about this step are on-going.
Right now, Sciar is participating in Health Incubator Helsinki, with already a few of workshops under its belt.
“The incubator customizes its content for the different teams and really zeroes in on what you need,” Alaviuhkola says.
This is your captain speaking
Alaviuhkola is perhaps not your typical startup entrepreneur, since he had been flying commercial airplanes for 20 years before pivoting to a completely new direction. How’s the life of a tech entrepreneur treating him?
“Entrepreneurship in Finland today is something that is encouraged and appreciated which has not always been the case. There’s also a lot of support available now – another improvement from the past.”
As there are no speed limits on science, Alaviuhkola is happy to be a part of this new information revolution.
“Startups bring those new innovations that the society needs. I guess we all want to make things better in some way.”
Startup Fast Facts:
Name: Sciar Company Oy
Product: Quality management software with Augmented Reality workflow tool and automated documentation
Team size: 8
Target customer/market: Life Science (Pharma, Biotech), Chemical industry and other industrial R&D and QA
Text: Sami J. Anteroinen
Cover photo: Keksi Agency via City of Helsinki