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Yamaha Cell Handler™

Advancing Cell Research Into a New Era

Wako Automation is the exclusive North America and European distributor of the Yamaha Cell Handler

Yamaha motors doesn’t only produce motorcycles, jet skis, and boat engines, they are one of the world’s largest suppliers of automated surface mounting systems. These high speed precision instruments place thousands of microchips onto circuit boards. Built on years of experience designing industrial instruments using imaging and precision movements Yamaha’s Life Science’s division has developed the Cell Handler automated cell isolation system. The Cell Handler uses a built in microscope to image and detect cells, custom precision tips to gently aspirate and dispense cells from a source vessel into a destination well.

This system is not only ideal for clonal selection, single cell sequencing or the isolation of individual stem cells as small as 10µm in size but can be used to detect and isolate individual spheroids, organoids or PDX samples as large as 180µm in diameter. Once the Cell Handler images the source vessel containing cells, the cells or spheroids are identified and quantified. Thresholds can be set by the user so only objects that fall within the user selected area, diameter, circularity, circumference, color, intensity, etc. will be aspirated by the Cell Handler and moved into the destination well. Object recognition is done using bright field imaging, while fluorescent images can be automatically overlaid and used for enhanced selection criteria. The Cell Handler can be configured with up to three excitation and emission filters.

The Cell Handler can operate in one of three modes:

  • Full manual selection, where a touch screen is used so users can manually select the cells or spheroids they are interested in isolating.
  • Automatic selection, based on user selected thresholds.
  • Machine learning selection, where the touch screen is used to teach the Cell Handler what cells or spheroids should be isolated, and Yamaha’s software automatically builds thresholds based on machine learning algorithms.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and we agree. With most cellular isolation systems you never truly know if one cell was truly isolated or if additional cells or contaminants hitched a ride leaving you with a mixed or contaminated colony instead of a pure clone. The Cell Handler uses high resolution image to verify that a single object was picked on the source side and a second image to verify that only a single object was dispensed on the destination side. These images can be viewed and stored for QC purposes. If an image shows that more than one cell was accidentally transferred, users can simply mark that well so that they know not to use it for downstream work. The Cell Handler is the ideal instrument to rapidly remove individual spheroids that have been formed using specialized microwells, isolate spheroids grown in a matrix such as MatriGel™, isolate cells for clonal selection, isolate stem cells, or to isolate similarly sized PDX samples. On average it takes an experienced scientist approximately 8 hours using a microscope to manually isolate spheroids of a similar size and fill a 384 well plate. The Cell Handler can do the same operation in under 30 minutes, with higher accuracy, provides images that serve as a permanent record of what was or was not transferred, and provides feature data such as area, diameter, roundness, etc. for each object transferred.

Enthusiasts worldwide have trusted Yamaha Motors and admired Yamaha’s high quality products. Today scientists can experience that same Yamaha Motor quality when it comes to handling biological materials in the laboratory.

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  • Transfer objects as small as 10µm to as large as 2.0mm in size (For larger than 180 µm size is under development).
  • Image using either a 4x or 10x objective.
  • Up to 3 color fluorescence imaging and bright field.
  • CMOS sensor provides a large field of view.
  • Fill a 384 well plate with a single cell or spheroid in each well in under 30 minutes.
  • Feature data can be exported so basic image based assays can be performed.
  • Visual records and features of each object transferred can be exported and stored.
Automation CompatibleYes (Consultation required)
Detection MethodsBright Field, Fluorescence (*1)
Excitation Filters (Up to 3)User Selectable
Light SourceWhite LED (Bright Field), Xenon Arc Lamp (*2) (Fluorescence),
Emission Filters (Up to 3)User Selectable
Objectives4x, 10x(*3)
Camera2048×1544 pixels
Liquid HandlingDisposable tips (180µm)
Environmental ControlsHeated Stage(*4), HEPA Filter
Length1500 mm
Width1030 mm
Height1580 mm
WeightApprox. 600 kg

Yamaha’s Precision Chamber increases successful single spheroid picking rates to 98.5%. The Precision Chamber has over 2000 small open grids that spheroids settle on. Reagent is automatically pumped through the bottom of the Precision Chamber lifting and dispersing spheroids so they are not crowded together and sitting on top of each other. The more separated spheroids are to begin with the lower the chances more than one spheroid at a time will accidentally be picked.

Yamaha’s 180 µm disposable Precision Tip can transfer spheroids between 10µm – 180µm in size. They can be reused dozens of times when transferring from the same reagent pool and automatically ejected and loaded when a new tip is needed. The tips are designed with a built-in plunger enabling incredible precision.

Yamaha is also developing reusable tip for larger than 180 µm, up to 2.0 mm in size. The reusable tips can be washed and autoclaved for sterility after removed.