I got this question from a reader of this blog a few month ago on a previous post. I thought I would share the answer I had given him over here as well. Just in case a poor student, somewhere, spends time counting manually and googles something like “isn’t there a better way to do this ?” …
If you recall, I wrote about this app called Fast Counter, developed by Shazino, and available on the App Store. It does a very decent job counting bacteria on petri dishes, as long as there are not too small and dense.
For a drosophilist, the connection from counting colonies on a plate to counting flies on a pad is not too difficult to make. So I tried it by myself (because, really this was a high priority ;)) and it worked very well.
Of course, flies should not be too dense, and not sticking to each other. By setting the detection threshold in the app, you will actually get an extremely decent accurate number.
Here is an example of the read-out you get:
Pretty good stuff, huh ?
Maximal number of flies you can count would be around 200-300, accuracy of course is better if you put less.
Have you eve tried it ? If so, what are your impressions ?
Time for a new app recommendation today ! A while ago, it was suggested to me in a comment on this very blog, and when I saw the description in the iTunes Store, I was immediately enthusiast. It’s called the Fast Counter.
It’s basically the app that does the annoying job of colonies on petri dishes. Look at that :
I had time to try it out a bit , by taking a classic LB plate with bacteria after transformation (about 200) and tried to count. You can set the threshold, and the color of the background; and once this is done, it is pretty effective.It does capture -LIVE- your colony number (is it the future already, right ?), but you can also take a snapshot, and count “manually” by tapping on them.
My point is, if you need a good estimate, and not a super-super-precise count (which is generally not required anyway), you should definitely try it out.
Also, the company developing that tool also made some other apps, if you like all nerdy apps for the lab like me, check it out on their website ! It’s called Shazino.
In parallel to my research project, I have more “geeky” project going on: achieving paperless-ness. I am not the most organized person, and accumulate stacks of papers with doodles, administrative stuff, research papers, train tickets, reimbursement files, etc … And I will not mention how tidy this still looks compared to other desks I saw in research labs in the past.
I took a resolution during my first year of PhD that until the end I would completely switch to a digital and organized system. To do so, I use some iPhone/iPad apps which are absolutely essential for that. The most important one is Evernote.
I take all my meeting/seminars/conference notes in it. It is synchronized with my other devices, computers (home and lab), and saved on the cloud. I am able to effortlessly organize it, and do in-text search if I look for a particular thing. If I’m having a “I-don’t-feel-like-taking-notes” day, I record the talk.
This App saved me so many random unreadable notes and doodles spread in different lab books already. And I can actually find back things that I know to have written down somewhere and at some point.