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January 01, 2012 (Vol. 32, No. 1)

Lab Assistant (developer: Visual Ventures)

  • Nice design, large number of chemicals included
  • Nothing major
Platform: iPad  
Cost: Free

Granted, the title of this app isn’t all that helpful. What it should be called is “chemical compatibility guide,” because that is exactly what it is. From a menu on the left side of the screen, users select one of thirty materials, ranging from polypropylene to titanium. At the bottom of the screen there is a short description of the material’s properties, such as temperature range and sterilization techniques. The major component of the app, however, appears on the right side of the screen—a fairly long list of common laboratory chemicals (from acetaldehyde to zinc sulfate), coded according to compatibility with the selected material. The code categories are: little to no interaction, slight interaction, and not recommended. For some chemicals there are also additional notes. The interface is organized and nicely designed.

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  • Good