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UBC Theses and Dissertations

On automating the accessioning process in a clinical pathology laboratory Bridges, Herbert James

Abstract

In the Clinical Pathology Laboratory, one of the most-exacting and time consuming operations is that of accessioning. This term encompasses those operations concerned with the separation of test specimens into subsamples for multiple testing and the preparation of records to retain the identity of the sub-samples as they progress through the laboratory. This thesis contains a description of an automated accessioning unit that, when interfaced to a DEC PDP-9 general-purpose digital computer is capable of performing the accessioning function. The computer maintains the necessary records while the mechanical unit performs the sample splitting operation. Initial sample identification is performed by the card stub reader in a modified IBM 1084 sampler-reader. Samples are separated by a fixed splitter, in which each output is valve controlled. The subsamples are pumped to multiple tray loading stations. The trays are identified via a photo-transistor read head that senses a code built into each tray. The computer also controls the tray rotation and the filler arm independently at each station. All mechanical operations attempted by the computer are verified by appropriated sensors. A thirty-two channel scanning digital multiplexer was designed to monitor these feedback signals. Software concepts were developed to operate the device within the Keyboard Monitor Software environment of the PDP-9. The software was designed to permit shared execution of the accessioning unit controlling program and any other program system desired, with minimum restrictions on that system.

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