The UMR Crystal Harvesting System

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The next step in crystal harvesting

As protein crystals continue to decrease in size, the days of human-performed crystal harvesting are numbered. Watch the system harvest a crystal in its tele-operated mode.

The future of crystal harvesting ...

High-throughput crystallography, critical to the drug discovery process, has reached a level of efficiency where virtually the entire crystallization pipeline is robotically automated. However, two steps, both performed by expert human operators, remain a crucial bottleneck: crystal harvesting and cryocooling.

Square One Systems Design has developed, built and tested a robotic work cell that eliminates this bottleneck. This first-of-its-kind system enables operator-assisted harvesting of crystals and cryocooling using an anthropomorphic six-axis universal micromanipulation robot with revolutionary benefits:

  • Ease of Use - Once the province of professional harvesters earning six figure salaries, crystal harvesting using SQR-1’s Harvester UMR is so easy and simple that even a child can do it (and a 9-year old has successfully harvested a protein crystal using the system’s intuitive interface).
  • Harvest More Crystals - Advanced process innovations increase the harvesting window to allow a greater percentage of crystals to be extracted.
  • Optimize the Crystallography Pipeline – The reproducibility and data collection capabilities of SQR-1’s Harvester UMR allow, for the first time, these last two stages to be systematically explored and enhanced to decrease costly late-stage crystallization failures.
  • Revolutionary Drug Candidates – Below a rapidly approaching size threshold, human-based crystal harvesting becomes impossible. Robotic harvesting enables the impossible and allows for smaller and smaller proteins to be characterized.

SQR-1 is seeking knowledgeable investment partners eager to take this product to market.


  • I would just like to add that the system is working great and we have harvested our first “robotic” crystals this week!!

    Marc (Scientist)