Using robots and advanced software in medicine is nothing new. But when you can automate areas of medicine still done manually, heads begin turning.

San Francisco startup 3Scan Inc. is poised to do just that, having secured $14 million to develop its proprietary robotic microscope and computer vision systems, tailor-made for accelerating drug discovery.

Currently, tissue analysis is done manually, with researchers taking a 1 cm block of tissue and manually slicing it up. Only a limited number of samples can be taken this way, and analysis of these few samples could take a year.

Now, 3Scan's robot can derive 10,000 slices from each tissue sample, and make a whole 3D map of the diseased tissue. This allows researchers to view the sample much like a topographical map of Earth.


This allows things that were previously impossible, such as looking at changes to vasculature or blood flow between two samples.

Currently, 3Scan's robot's samples are mice or other animals. The company hopes to move on to human samples when FDA gives its approval.

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