High-throughput colony picking: PIXL with Momentum


Join the colony picking revolution & increase your precision & sterility with PIXL

What is PIXL?

An ultra-reliable and super-easy-to-use microbial colony picker. It automates imaging, colony recognition, colony selection, and picking; from Petri dishes to multiwell plates. Check out the efficiency report.

PIXL Colony Picker unique picking technique using PickupLine

PickupLine for colony picking with PIXL

How does PIXL work?

PIXL uses the freshly-cut end of a sterile PickupLine to transfer microbial colonies. It eliminates the requirement for washing cycles and the associated chance of contamination. 


PIXL is developed in collaboration with leading synthetic biology incubators, SynCTI and SynbiCITE, and industrial partners SynthACE. All of whom are unhappy with existing colony picking options. We listened. We collaborated. We developed PIXL.



You told us that PIXL needed to:

  • Be easy to use by anybody in the lab
  • Adapt to your protocol
  • Trace and export every plate, colony and parameter

Step 1: Login

Each user has their own passworded profile. PIXL remembers last used settings; stores templates; and logs user actions and parameters.

Step 2: Select Source Plate

Petri or PlusPlate. Pick from the whole plate or define sectors of interest.

Step 3: Select Lighting Channel

Use white, or one of 5 other fluorescent channels.

Step 4: Detect Colonies

Filter based on: size, intensity, colour or circularity. Pick them all, or choose a sorted, or randomised subset.

Step 5: Select Target Plate

Select number of replicates; on any density, in any pattern, agar or liquid.

Step 6: Pick Colonies!

Review your routine, estimated time and number of plates required, then press go and walk away.

Step 7: Export Data

Export your routine, colony information and parameters as a CSV file.

Pick the hits that interest you

Capture high-resolution colony images using PIXL’s scientific grade, colour camera.

Filter colonies by: size, fluorescent intensity, colour, circularity, proximity or brightness.

Pick every single colony on the plate, or choose a sorted, sectored or randomised subset.

Pin onto agar or into liquid, on 90mm, 120mm and 150mm Petri Dishes, rectangular PlusPlates and deep or shallow multiwell plates.

Trust your results

Sustain close to 100% picking accuracy with precision agar surface detection on every pick.

Here's the proof!

Uneven agar surfaces? Not an issue. PIXL easily copes with agar height variations from plate to plate, automatically.

Pick every colony on your plate. No more missed or damaged colonies.

The motors are accurate to 50 microns, select even the smallest hits.

Picking profiles are adjustable to optimise for the most tenacious colonies.

Maintain sterility

Over 33,000 sterile, disposable tips in a single, low-cost PickupLine™.

Contact pressure regulation on every pick prevents colony splashing and cross contamination, a common problem with picking automation.

View Pinning Pressure Report

PickupLine™ eliminates the requirement for washing cycles and the associated chance of contamination.

Detect fluorescence

6-channel, flat-field SpectraStar™ incident illumination.

Excite fluorescent markers with Blue, Cyan, Green, 2 intensities of UV and white light.

PIXL also accepts standard 50mm emission filters.

Detection of wtGFP, sfGFP, mCherry, tagBFP and Venus markers.

Train everyone

Anybody can learn to PIXL!

The touch-screen interface will guide you step-by-step and get you picking the right colonies with ease.

90% of the functionality can be learnt in as little as 10 minutes, without instruction.

We spend a lot of time with our collaborators to make sure that our user interface thinks like you do.

Trace everything

Trace everything with passworded user profiles

PIXL remembers last used settings; stores templates; and logs user actions and parameters automatically.

Export your routine, colony information and parameters as a CSV file.

Buy back capacity

PIXL is well balanced between accuracy and speed. 

Stacker integration options. Contact us to find out more.


Elevate your laboratory’s colony picking automation with PIXL and the industry-leading Thermo Scientific scheduling software Momentum. Delivering precision colony transfer at the highest throughput.

How does it work with PIXL?

PIXL enables you to filter and pick individual hits of interest and generate new libraries; Thermo Scientific Momentum allows you to build, schedule and execute custom workflows for reliable walk-away automation.



Wilson Lui, Automation Engineer at Aether.

PIXL is Singer Instruments’ high-precision colony picking robot that enables you to reliably pick your colonies, regardless of organism, with >99% transfer efficiency.

  • Pick to and from agar and liquid in a variety of plate types.
  • Customise your workflow with plate sectoring.
  • Scrape, stir, and adjust mixing profiles to optimise the transfer of the most tenacious organisms.
  • Turn on its fluorescent LEDs and PIXL will quantify and allow selection for wtGFP, sfGFP, mCherry, tagBFP, Venus and many other fluorescent markers.

The PickupLine picking polymer, as well as automatic detection of the agar surface ensures gentle picking of colonies – this means no cell splashing (a common problem in the industry), and much lower risk of introducing biological or ethanol contamination to your precious samples.


Momentum scheduling software:

  • Simple construction of workflows using the easy-to-use flow chart style process editor.
  • Dynamic event scheduling to allow walk-away scheduling of your workflow.
  • Run simulations to optimise and test your workflow before you start.
  • Receive remote notifications of your workflow progress straight to your inbox.
  • Flexibility if your workflow grows, your system can grow with you.

  • A truly collaborative arm.
  • 4-axis movement allows total flexibility.
  • Built in barcode scanner to identify your plates.
  • Automatic collision detection and recovery.
  • Automatically corrects for location discrepancies.
  • Removes and stores the lid while the plate is in use, relidding and returning the plate afterwards.
  • Compatible with random access and stacked plate hotels, allowing you to get the optimal setup for your high-throughput workflows.
  • Typical SBS plate capacity 60-120.


PIXL with Momentum allows a flexible high-throughput high-precision colony picking system that can scale and adjust to future demands. Additional plate hotels, incubators or other systems can be added in the future. Build your workflows, load your plates, PIXL with Momentum will handle the rest.





Why is it so reliable?

PIXL is so reliable because it’s so simple!

Why is it so easy to use?

Because our software engineers understand your biology! We spend a lot of time with our collaborators to make sure that our user interface thinks like you do.

What format source plates does it take?

PIXL accepts 90mm, 120mm, and 150mm Petri dishes as well as Singer PlusPlates and most varieties of rectangular PlusPlates.

What format target plates does it take?

PIXL pins onto agar or into liquid, on SBS-format rectangular plates, including 96 and 384 PCR and multiwell plates — both shallow and deep.

Can it be integrated into a larger workflow?

PIXL was designed with this in mind. We are currently working with integration partners to accommodate robotic arms, stackers and hotels for Bioengineering, Industrial Microbiology, Food and AgriTech, Microbiota, Microbial identification, Synthetic Biology and more. Contact us to find out more.

Does it require a dedicated technician?

No. The interface was designed so that anybody in the lab can reliably colony pick within a few minutes, simply by following the onscreen step-by-step process.

Why is it sterile?

PIXL uses specially developed Pinpoint™ picking technology for a step-change in reliability and sterility. Pinpoint™ uses the freshly-cut end of a sterile PickupLine™ to transfer microbial colonies. It’s consumable, but at a fraction of the cost of traditional pin tips. PIXL has a proven contamination rate of <0.03%.

How much does it cost to run?

PickupLine™ is available in 200m spools. The cost equates to approximately 2c per tip.

Can it cope with uneven agar?

Yes, totally! Agar is rarely flat. It’s one of the biggest challenges in colony picking automation. By design, Pinpoint™ picking technology morphs to differences in agar height and carefully regulates the contact pressure. It happily maintains picking accuracy and repeatability across uneven agar surfaces and easily copes with agar height variations from plate to plate. Oh, and all of this is completely automated!

What fluorescence markers can I select for?

PIXL will quantify and allow selection for wtGFP, sfGFP, mCherry, tagBFP and Venus as standard. Because PIXL is a colony picker and not a microscope, it will not detect sub-cellular or low levels of expression.


Tech Specs

 PIXL Technical Specifications High-throughput Screening

Product Code




L: 730mm x W: 640mm x H: 805mm



100 kg


Power requirements

240VAC at 3 Amps, 100-240VAC Compatible.



  • 5MP (2448 x 2048) Resolution
  • USB 3.0
  • 2/3” Sensor
  • 16mm Autofocus Liquid Lens


  • 21.5″, 1080p Full HD, LED-Backlit LCD Monitor
  • Edge-to-edge glass display with anti-glare


Top Light

1x White Channel & 5x Fluorescence Channels

  • UV 1 (380-390 nm)
  • UV 2 (400-410 nm)
  • Blue (465-485 nm)
  • Cyan (490-510 nm)
  • Green (520-540 nm)

This is not a microscope! It is a colony picker. As such it will not detect sub-cellular or low levels of expression.



Product Code




L: 343mm x W: 1194mm x H: 635mm



25 kg (33.8 kg)


Power requirements

100–240 V auto-switching


Hotels Storage

  • Random Access 15 standard plates per hotel
  • Sequential Access 40 standard plates per hotel
  • Maximum Capacity – Random Access 180 standard plates
  • Maximum Capacity – Sequential Access 480 standard plates


  • Base (rotate) – Range: Infinite  Velocity: 180°/sec Acceleration: 360°/sec2
  • Elevator – Range: 635 mm (1385 mm)  Velocity: 750 mm/s Acceleration: 2000 mm/s2
  • Elbow (rotate) – Range: Infinite  Velocity: 360°/sec Acceleration: 1440°/sec2
  • Wrist (rotate) – Range: Infinite  Velocity: 720°/sec Acceleration: 2880°/sec2

Axis Joint

  • Overall Height 800 mm (1583 mm)
  • Radius (reach) ±597 mm
  • Workspace Height
    (above mounting surface)





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