When they first appeared six years ago, they were looked on as something of a novelty. Many people dismissed them, saying, "they're fascinating, but they'll never take over." Today of course they are here en masse, with a tight grip on many scientists' working lives.

No, we're not talking about extraterrestrial invaders, but rather mere laboratory robots—although no mechanical device with the elegant sophistication of these modem-day tools could ever be aptly described as "mere" anything.

It was at the 1982 Pittsburgh Conference and Exposition on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy that world market leader Zymark Corp., Hopkinton, Mass., pioneered the field of laboratory robotics with the introduction of its first Zymate Laboratory Automation System. And with over 1,000 now installed in the world's leading chemical and pharmaceutical laboratories, the Zymate product remains the benchmark against which all other robotic systems are measured.

Over the past six years, Zymark's number...

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