Many biological experiments require a complicated test to be applied to a large number of subjects or experimental animals if a significant trend is to be discovered. This makes life hard for the experimenter, who is faced with many weeks of very repetitious work. Moreover it is unlikely that the experimenter will be able to apply the test in a completely stereotyped fashion each time, and thus an additional source of variability will be introduced into the results. In this kind of situation it is worth trying to arrange for completely automatic stimulus presentation and data collection and analysis. One should allow on average at least two to three months development time for a completely automated apparatus, so this sort of project only pays off if the experiment is going to be very lengthy indeed, or else is a standard assay technique which is to form the basis of a research programme.
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