I am working on a web-enabled incubator/refrigerator. Right now, checking on growing cells is tedious and sometimes you have to travel to the lab at inconvenient times. Sometimes you show up and nothing has happened, or even worse, the cells are overgrown.
With this system, a picture of the plate (and potentially other data, like absorption spectra of liquid cultures, temperature, etc) is served to you on a webpage, along with a form to set the temperature of the incubator. This incubator is special because it can heat up or cool down. Many cells basically stop growing at low temperatures- so all you have to do is set the temperature to 4C and come back to harvest your cells when it is convenient.
So far the software works and the hardware works, and integration is coming soon (tomorrow/this weekend).
If you are interested in this, check out the more detailed posts here
. I will hopefully make detailed documentation someday, but it is time consuming to do and finding time might take a while. If you really, really, want one, let me know*.
*the one big technical snafu of this is that you cant host a website from home without port forwarding, which is complicated for folks who dont have admin access to their router. one solution is to put a server in the middle (say, on heroku), but that is definitely not done yet. However, the incubator is still accessible via the LAN.