We believe in making simple, flexible tools that help advance science research and education.
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Michael Macknight first developed his concept for a computer-based data acquisition system in 1985, as part of his Bachelor of Science at New Zealand's University of Otago. By March 1988, when Michael submitted his Masters project, MacLab (the predecessor to PowerLab) had already been launched at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology 1987 Meeting.
Today, Michael continues to drive ADInstruments innovation and new product releases from the company's office in Dunedin, New Zealand.
Michael has been awarded a Bachelor of Science (Physics) and Masters of Science (Computer Science) from the University of Otago.
Since 1988 ADInstruments has grown alongside the tech industry
1985: The MacLab Masters Project
Our history begins in 1985 when Michael Macknight developed the 'MacLab' recording unit and 'Chart' and 'Scope' software as part of his Masters degree in Computer Science.
The idea for the project came from the Physiology Department at New Zealand's University of Otago, who weren't happy with the performance of their old paper chart recorders and smoke drums. Realizing the potential of early Macintosh computers (featuring a graphical user interface), they asked Michael to develop a computer-based system to replace their paper-based ones.
In 1985 Michael built the first MacLab - an analog to digital converter that connected to a Macintosh computer. He then developed two software packages - Chart (chart-recorder software) and Scope (digital oscilloscope software) - which provided software control of the recording unit, as well as a range of display and analysis features.
1988: ADInstruments Begins
In the early days, Michael manufactured MacLab systems for the New Zealand market only. In the late 1980s he met Boris Schlensky, an Australian with an interest in data acquisition and expertise in electronic engineering. Boris saw the potential of the MacLab system and agreed to cofound ADInstruments, and manufacture the products for the world market.
Boris, Michael and their teams set out to develop the premier computer-based data acquisition system in the life science market.
1997: MacLab to PowerLab
In 1997, we released our first data acquisition system for Windows computers. The hardware unit was named PowerLab, and was distributed with Chart for Windows 95 software.
In 1998, our entire range of data acquisition units became both Macintosh and Windows compatible. The cross-platform data acquisition systems were named PowerLab.
1998: Celebrating 10 Years by Opening Offices in China and the US
By 1998 we had opened a US office to better service our now large customer base. 1998 also saw the opening of our first office in China, as well as the continued success of our established offices in the United Kingdom and Japan.
2005: The LabTutor Revolution Sparks
Although PowerLab systems were already part of many of the world's best life science courses, our software developers were looking for a way to make experiments easier for educators to implement and easier for students to complete.
The result was LabTutor software for PowerLab systems for use in both high school and higher education. LabTutor is used for courses including biology, nursing, health science, physiology, pharmacology and medicine. Since 2005, experiments have been translated into 10 different languages, and are now available in a multitude of different subject areas. In addition, the LabTutor software continues to be developed with new features such as the incorporation of high quality sound and video to experiments.
2008: 20th Anniversary
In 2008, we celebrated our 20th Anniversary (1988-2008). We marked the event with the introduction of a new generation of software for use with PowerLab including LabChart, LabChart Reader and LabAuthor. We opened new offices in Brazil and Malaysia, expanding our global network to more than 50 countries.
At our 2009 World Wide Conference VI - Las Vegas USA for staff and distributors, one hundred and twelve people from over 20 countries were welcomed at the opening reception.
2010: LabTutor Suite & Multimedia Medical Laboratories
In 2010 ADInstruments released the LabTutor Suite providing a complete solution for education with three new components complementing the LabTutor experiment collection: LabTutor Server for central management of experiments for diverse course requirements; LabAuthor for easy modification and creation of experiments; and LabTutor Online to enable Internet access of experiments by students and educators.
Since 2010 the multimedia LabTutor Medical Laboratories Collection has been released. The software embeds real patient videos and data with related physiology experiments, making it ideal for health, nursing and medical courses.
2011: New Cleaner, Greener PowerLab series
While PowerLab data acquisition systems always surpassed industry standards of quality and safety, the smart PowerLab 35 series units raised the bar to a new level. The 35 series are providing scientists with the cleanest signal recordings using the smallest, most environmentally friendly PowerLab units to date. The contents are lead free and we are standing behind our quality commitment with a 5-year warranty.
2013: LabChart reaches new heights
In late 2013, our new version of LabChart embraces cloud features for efficiency and security. Our cloud based server enables LabChart files to be uploaded for review, sharing or publishing. We also add the much-requested data visualization for the creation of colourful data plots within LabChart. For education, our new licenses give students easy, affordable access to research grade software.
2014 and beyond: Looking forward
With more than 40,000 PowerLab systems installed worldwide, a support network of ADInstruments offices and distributors in more than 80 countries around the world, we are the largest data acquisition company for life science worldwide. Our team of qualified representatives and technical experts share a common commitment to providing excellent training and support to all customers, everywhere. Our research and development team continues to develop powerful products for life science research and education to meet new and evolving needs.