Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tablet Computers for Mosaic Vivarium

Tablet computers are becoming useful alternatives to laptops for laboratory animal resources (LAR) data entry directly in the animal room.  We find that tablets and laptops provide the depth of functionality needed by husbandry staff.

To use Mosaic Vivarium, you’ll need a Windows 7 or 8 based tablet (not an Apple or Android based tablet at this time… stay tuned).  The Microsoft Surface Pro 2 or 3 are both good examples.

Get a Bluetooth Motorola (Symbol) LS 4278 scanner to go with this tablet

Simply plug your DYMO Turbo 450 into the USB slot when you’ve queued up a bunch of cage cards to print.

One concern with any consumer device in the LAR environment is durability.  Most of our customers have had good experience with consumer laptops, but we don’t yet have enough experience with the new tablets.  (How often are they dropped?)  In 2011 we tested a ruggedized tablet from MobileDemand.  The T7000 model has an integrated barcode scanner that is fast (laser, not camera based), as well as an optional add-on keyboard.  You can check out the videos at their web site.  The physical size is a 7” display (T7000 model) or 8.4” (T8700 model).

The MobileDemand tablets have a proven track record of durability and scanner-productivity in other industries.  They also have straps/harnesses for walking around with the computer without fear of dropping.  We found the MobileDemand computers quite usable in 2011 but have not researched recent offerings.

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