AI-enabled IVD culture plate imaging, reading and reporting

The first automated culture plate reader with FDA clearance

Free up FTE resource in your microbiology laboratory and put their time toward more meaningful activities with the Clever Culture Systems APAS® Independence instrument, distributed exclusively in the U.S. by Thermo Fisher Scientific.

The APAS Independence is an innovative in vitro diagnostic instrument for automated imaging, analysis and interpretation of agar culture plates (see FAQs below for details). It utilizes the breakthrough Automated Plate Assessment System (APAS) imaging technology and artificial intelligence algorithms to analyze an image of agar plates, categorizing them as:

  • Significant growth
  • Non-significant or negative growth
  • For review

By automatically releasing negative results and removing them from the workflow, it delivers reliable and consistent results three times faster than a highly skilled microbiologist*. Being able to triage these out of the workflow provides significant efficiencies in time and focuses skilled staff on more complex tasks that require their expertise.1

Based on a timing study conducted in June 2016 at St. Vincent’s hospital in Melbourne, Australia.

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1 For more information, see Special Use Conditions

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The APAS Independence instrument2:

Provides accurate results

Provides accurate results: intelligent imaging and machine learning for consistent, quality results

Saves labor

Saves labor: significantly reduces time for reading and reporting negative results

Delivers immediate gains

Delivers immediate gains: minimal installation and training required


2 For more information, see Special Use Conditions

See how the APAS Independence instrument fits into your workflow

Studies show Clever Culture Systems’ APAS Independence instrument can boost productivity

Take a look at our new case study spotlighting the experiences of Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, as Jacqueline Getty, Microbiology Technologist, discusses the studies and data sets that they’ve generated, and how the APAS instrument has transformed their workflow.

"[It] equates to significant additional time for the tech to focus on other tasks, whether that be getting to clinically relevant cultures sooner, starting downstream workups earlier, or tackling some of the other tasks in laboratoryl"

View case study

SmartNote: New perspectives on the automated lab

Artificial intelligence (Al) holds the key to many of the microbiology field's biggest challenges, by streamlining workflows and freeing up microbiologists to concentrate on higher value activities. Yet despite the technology being ubiquitous in many areas of our everyday lives, laboratories have been slow to adopt it.

In our new SmartNote, New perspectives on the automated lab: The productivity boosting potential of plate reading Al, we explore how Al and machine learning (ML) are transforming the way microbiologists screen culture media plates and how new technologies like the APAS Independence instrument are helping to unleash the lab Al revolution.

View SmartNote

On demand workshop:

Laboratory automation in microbiology: Accelerating the impact through AI and digital imaging

See the workshop from ASM Microbe 2022, featuring presentations from:

  • Jacqueline Getty, MLS (ASCP), Microbiology, Hennepin County Medical Center
  • Dr. Hilmar Wisplinghoff, Labor Wisplinghoff, Cologne, Germany

Clever Culture Systems APAS Independence FAQs

Automated Plate Assessment System 

The APAS technology is based on an intelligent imaging system using proprietary machine learning algorithms.

Currently, the APAS Independence Urine module is FDA cleared for clinical diagnostic use with Thermo Scientific™ Blood Agar (TSA with Sheep Blood) R01200 & R01202 and Thermo Scientific™ MacConkey Agar R01550 & R01552. The APAS Independence MRSA module is FDA cleared for clinical diagnostic use with Thermo Scientific™ Spectra™ MRSA Agar R01821 & R01822, as well as Beckton Dickson BBL™ CHROMagar™ MRSA II agar.

The APAS Independence has a modest footprint of 78.74” x 31.5” x 62.99” (L x W x H) – the instrument is floor standing and requires no bench space. 

The APAS Independence does not require any specific streaking or culturing method. Laboratories can continue to use their current automated or manual workflow.

The APAS Independence does not require any specific streaking or culturing method. Laboratories can continue to use their current automated or manual system.

No, the APAS Independence does not incubate plates. The APAS Independence does not require specific incubators so laboratories can continue to use their current methods of incubation.

The APAS Independence does not require specific incubators.

The APAS Independence processes a minimum 200 plates per hour.

Yes, the instrument saves the images for 45 days from reading. The images can be viewed on a web browser and can be easily exported. 

The APAS Independence is designed to integrate with any workflow by quickly and accurately identifying, interpreting and reporting negative cultures on your prepared culture media plates. This empowers clinicians and enables your microbiologists and other skilled staff to focus on more complex tasks that require their expertise.

© 2021 Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. All rights reserved. Clever Culture Systems is the legal manufacturer of the APAS® Independence instrument. APAS® is a trademark of Clever Culture Systems. BBL is a trademark of Becton, Dickinson and Company. CHROMagar is a trademark of Dr A. Rambac. All other trademarks are the property of Thermo Fisher Scientific and its subsidiaries. The APAS® Independence is distributed in the U.S. by Thermo Fisher Scientific.