User friendly product designs able to read laboratory RFID sample tags stored at -196 degree C
The process for uniquely identifying, managing, retrieving and auditing cryogenic biological samples, from sperm to brain tissue, is being made easier, faster, safer and more user friendly through a new family of product designs created by Cambridge Industrial Design (CID) for RFID tagging pioneer Cryogatt.
Cryogatt has developed a patented system using RFID technology that replaces barcode or handwritten labelling of samples and is uniquely able to operate at temperatures as low as -196°C this means that samples contained in RFID tagged vials and fertility straws which are cryogenically stored in laboratories, biobanks and fertility clinics can now be quickly and accurately identified, located and audited.
Working in partnership with Cryogatt, CID designed a complete family of reader products, focusing on usability and ergonomics, making the process of storing and locating samples simple, straightforward and fast. Through the combination of design and functionality, this saves time for technicians, which is critical as samples will deteriorate if kept out of subzero storage for too long. The robust products are also easy to clean, fit into the working environment and bring consumer style aesthetics to the laboratory.
Cryogatt chose to work with CID due to its experience in creating designs for the laboratory and building products that use RFID and similar communications technologies, as well as its flexible, collaborative approach. Previous CID projects include work for the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, the RFID-powered SureFlap cat flap and a wearable GPS cow tracking collar for True North Technologies.
“We needed to turn our technology from prototype to full production, while ensuring that it was cost-effective to manufacture and stood out in the market for design excellence,” said Geoff Morris, Engineering Director, Cryogatt. “Cambridge Industrial Design has been the perfect partner on our journey, combining experience, stylish design skills and a flexible approach that completely met our needs.”
The CID-designed Cryogatt range of RFID readers is already being used and trialled by leading hospitals, bio banks and fertility clinics across the UK. 
Anchor“At Cambridge Industrial Design, we are firm believers that every product should combine form and function – and that this applies equally to lab equipment or the latest smart phone,” said Tim Evans, Design Director, Cambridge Industrial Design. “There’s absolutely no reason that a device for reading RFID tags on sperm samples shouldn’t be as aesthetically pleasing as an iPhone 6. The Cryogatt family of RFID readers demonstrates this, combining innovative technology with an ergonomic, user-friendly design that makes it straightforward and simple to operate.”