Samsung Electronics of the Bio Instruments Industry
Samsung Electronics of the Bio Instruments Industry
  • Kim Kyung-nam
  • 승인 2010.02.04 15:35
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Kim Kyung-nam, CEO of Microdigital Co., Ltd.

According to the newspaper agency Samsung Electronics became the world's number one electronics company in 2009. In other words, Samsung electronics has sold electronics or electrical products more than any other company in the world. The name of Samsung always reminds me of Silicon Valley. About 10 years ago when I was in Silicon Valley working for the Applied Materials, a company manufacturing semiconductor equipment, Samsung electronics, specifically Samsung semiconductor business division, was one of the biggest clients. They were really good at equipment application and product line usage. I believe that Samsung's success with IT products and home appliances are deeply rooted in their success of the semiconductor manufacturing.

Silicon Valley was literally a boom town of the IT business 10 years ago. Everything was exciting like driving towards Las Vegas and embracing the brilliant neon signs. Millionaires, billionaires looking for new technologies and talented engineers from all around the world filled the cafes and restaurants. Whenever I met engineers and talked about the job, one of the dialogues always intrigued me. "So you work at a device manufacturing company My Company makes equipment not instruments." Engineers like to sort devices, instruments, and equipment.

IT machinery is not easy to differentiate among devices, instruments and equipment in the field of bio-technology. If I had to, devices can be regarded as simple tools and instruments as realization of monitoring and controlling biological activities by using mechanical and electrical modules. Bio equipment is a multiplication of bio instruments and definitely complexity is a must.

What exactly is biological activity

It is a response or a series of responses of the biological materials such as blood, DNA, cellular material, and water resulting from adding external actions such as heat, reagent, and nutrients.

For example considering an instrument detecting toxicity of the sewage water, depending upon the level of the toxicity the degree of the luminescence of the specific luminescence bacteria is quantitatively determined. In other words, by detecting the biological activity of the luminescence of the bacteria, the toxicity of the sewage water can be precisely monitored.

Realization is a series of mechanical processes replacing handwork processes.

In vivo simulator, a hot theme for anti cancer researchers, is a good example of the realization. The best method of identifying the effects of anti cancer drugs is directly medicating drugs to the cancer patients. However, clinically-not-proved-drugs cannot be treated to the patients except in special cases. In this case, the best substitute is making and providing an environment which is very similar to the patients and to do the entire drug tests in a controlled environment. Controlling of the temperature of the chamber containing cells for anti cancer research, blocking of the external viruses and other inhabitants, providing necessary gases and nutrients for cellular respiration and vitality, and stimulating mechanical stimuli when necessary are parts of in vivo simulation realization.

What are the basic functional groups or modules of the bio instruments

The basic frame of the bio instruments is "automation" technology. Replacing handworks by mechanical elements increases the reliability and repeatability of the bio process. For example, PCR instrument, a DNA multiplication instrument heating and cooling the DNA periodically, dramatically increases the detection rate of a certain disease thanks to automatic manipulation of the temperature.

Optical detection is another basic frame of the bio instrument. By using the light's absorbance, fluorescence and luminescence, various natures of the biological activities can be detected.

However, it should be noted that the quantization technology is the most important when it comes to bio instruments. Sometimes the selling price of bio instruments depends purely on the level of quantization. The more a bio instrument quantized, the more acceptable data can be produced. Quantization technology is not a specific field of technology, but a direction and level of technology automation, optical detection and other technology it is seeking.

How can we make a compatible bio instrument Is the capability of the Samsung electronics enough to develop and manufacture

The difference of the general electronics industry and bio instrument industry should be considered. End users or customers of the general electronics are consuming the public. A single product with standard functions and formats can satisfy hundreds and thousands of people. Lifecycle of the product is very short and consumer's adaptability to new products is very high. The most important thing it is not necessary to do the man-to-man marketing.

In the bio instrument industry a limited number of users with intensive knowledge of processes and bio materials should be satisfied with various kinds of products. Lifecycle is relatively long and users are very conservative to new products. Therefore, man-to-man marketing is a must. Simply speaking knowing the market is very difficult and takes time.

Making and launching a compatible bio instrument can be accomplished by coupling the R&D and manufacturing technology of the bio instrument company and capabilities of the marketing and clients handling of the bio infra company. Bio infra company is a network company providing all the necessary tools, reagents, instruments and solutions for the biotech research.

An alliance between the bio infra company knowing the market and bio instrument company having the development and manufacturing technology with flexibility will be the Samsung electronics of the bio instrument industry 10 years from now.

Series Schedule

Issue Title Subject
Sept Human Tissue Culture Technology – Part I
Oct Human Tissue Culture Technology – Part II
Nov Alternative Energy: Bio-diesel from Micro-algae
Dec The Importance of Samples: Sample Archiving & Research D/B management for IT industry is highly important. What about samples for the biomedical industry
Jan What Are Bio Instruments The nature of medical instruments are well known. Then, what are bio instruments
Feb Idea and Technology Realizations Starting from an idea catch up, a prototype development process will be described from real experience.

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