Colony Picking

The RapidPick Lite has been designed to meet the needs of labs around the world that require an automated colony picking system that is:

  • Easy
  • Economical
  • Environmental and
  • can be Expanded if needed.

The RapidPick Lite includes the RapidPick MP, a PlateCrane EX robotic arm and 5 plate stacks. If you have medium throughput needs, you may be interested in the RapidPick SP or the RapidPick Harvester.

The average inoculation rates of the RapidPicks are over 99%. The major competitors use batch picking so there is a delay in placing colonies into the destination plate. The delay may weaken E. coli and other bacteria or cause death.

The RapidPick Lite’s small footprint saves lab space and easily fits into anaerobic chambers and biosafety hoods. The typical colony picking rate is around 2,400 colonies per hour. Software Plug-Ins are available to communicate with all Hudson Robotics instruments and over 200 instruments from other manufactures such as LiCONiC incubators, media dispensers, robotic arms and more. The open physical layout allows for easy integration with other instruments and cleaning. Hudson Robotics can provide chambers to showcase your workcell.

Using the RapidPick Lite, users can manually load a colony plate and a media-filled target plate in the plate stacks of the PlateCrane robotic arm, then start the automated picking through an easy operator interface on the instrument’s control computer. Hudson’s RapidPick designed to pick from petri dishes, Nunc™ Omnitray ™ or any SBS plates, including: 1, 6, 8, 24, 48 and 96-well plates. They will inoculate SBS 1, 24, 96, 384, 1536 deepwell and standard height microplates. The MP includes barcode scanners to identify barcodes on each of the source colony plate and the target growth plate, if the user’s plates are barcoded. Then, the transfer data is saved using these barcodes to identify the resulting picked colonies. If the user’s plates are not barcoded, the data will be saved in sequential order. With the optional 2nd destination plate the user can create both an assay plate and an archive plate. Optional fluorescence detection and zone of exclusion bacterial colony detection is available.

The RapidPick’s easy to use software enables users to create unique colony morphology sets to automate the colony picking process

  • Select the visual parameters for automatically identifying colonies such as: Radius, Amplitude, Elongation, Conformity, Separation, Colony Color
  • Select the Source Plate format to be used
  • Select the Target Plate format
  • Select the Type of operation (colony-picking, re-arraying, plate replication, etc.)
  • Select picking segments on segmented colony plates
  • Define picking parameters and limits
High Speed Colony Picking RapidPick Lite
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  • Media dispenser for fresh growth media in every plate.
  • Integrated gas-permeable seal applicator to insure freedom from contamination.


The Hudson Robotics RapidPick family of colony Pickers, Liquid Handlers, Microplate Handling systems and Laboratory Automation software are used in a wide range of applications in Synthetic Biology and fields such as Microbiome Research:

  • Clone Management
  • Gene Assembly
  • DNA transformation into Bacteria
  • Plasmid Prep
  • DNA/RNA/Protein extraction and purification
  • Next-Gen Sequencing (NGS) Prep
  • DNA and RNA normalization
  • Many More…

For the full list of Applications please click here.


  • Easy to use, easy to set up, easy to maintain, easy to grow as applications change
    • The software is easy to use and robust for colony picking
    • Re-arraying option for plate replication and cherry picking is included at no charge
      • Optional modules include: Halo picking, GFP picking, Colony counting, LED light panel in any color
    • All methods are ready to go and ready to use, no programming is required
    • Easily set maximum colonies to pick from segment or plate
    • Easily set controls wells anywhere in the destination plate, 1,2 or 3 wells or whole rows or columns.  Controls are 100% user defined
    • Lid removal and lid management is included at no charge.
    • Includes basic service kit for minor issues like pin replacements
    • 48 hour response time for field service in most areas around the world (*ask about your location)
    • Includes barcode scanners for source and destination plates at no charge and all data tracking.
    • Includes email notification of all errors, run completions and whatever information you need from the system
  • The new enclosure provides a clean and safe work environment
    • Options include: free standing table, HEPA filtration, UV sterilization
  • The RapidPick Lite is everything you want today and nothing you don’t.  If you need to add something tomorrow, it’s no problem with the RapidPick.  The system can be expanded anytime to include automated  media dispensing, shaking incubation, plate sealing and/or greater plate capacity.
    • On-board capacity for picking over 1700 colonies per run into 96 DW blocks
      • Options include: expansion up to 10,000 colony capacity, on-board shaking incubation, Automated media dispensing, on-board plate sealing


RapidPick Multi-Pin Colony Picking Systems consist of the RapidPick Multi-Pin Colony Picker instrument, the PlateCrane EX (except Basic model) with up to 10 stacks, and software development by Hudson Robotics to control the system. The systems have the following specifications:

  • Software for colony picking, cherry picking, re-arraying and plate replication is standard.
  • Supports NUNC Omnitrays and Petri dishes as source plates for colony-picking.
  • Supports most SBS format shallow and deep well plates for the destination or in use with plate replication; 24 wells, 96, 384 and 1536 formats.
  • Comes standard with 2 barcode readers, 1 for the source plates and 1 for the destination plates.
  • Holds 1 source plate and 1 destination plate at a time, with option for 2 destination plates.
  • Has input capacity of 72 deep-well culture growth plates.
  • Includes barcode tracking of both colony and culture plate/well
  • Uses 20 tungsten pins on spring loaded linear slides attached to a rotating turret for picking.
  • Uses LED light box with the intensity of the lights controlled in software.
  • LED lights can be changed to different colors if desired.
  • Camera takes an image of the entire plate in a single image. No image cropping or building is required.
  • User creates parameter files for identifying good colonies. There is no limit to the number of parameter files that can be created. Good colonies are determined by size, shape, contrast to background and closeness to other colonies.
  • User can manually edit the plate to be picked if desired. Colonies can be selected or deselected with the click of the mouse.
  • 4 pins are actuated at the same time, picking pin, inoculation pin, wash station, sterilization. This action takes under 1 second. After the pins are released, the rotor moves by 1 position.
  • Typical picking speed is 1 pick every 1-1.5 seconds; ~40 a minute, ~2400+ per hour.
  • Picking pin can pick through agar and hits bottom of plate with no damage to pin, linear slide or plate.
  • Inoculation pin can be set to “wiggle or dither” in destination well from 1-10 shakes. This improves the inoculation efficiency to 99%+.
  • Wash station is a vacuum wash to remove loose debris on the pin. After leaving wash station, pin travels through a brush to remove anything remaining.
  • Pins are sterilized with direct heat. The pins enter a heater coil or furnace at 600F for under 1 second. The tungsten pins heats through and all samples on the pins are destroyed. Tungsten allows pin to cool before being used for picking.

Optional Components

  • Media dispenser for fresh growth media in every plate.
  • Integrated gas-permeable seal applicator to insure freedom from contamination.
  • Available fully-integrated operation with products like Liconic’s STX 40 robotic incubator which provides complete automation of the entire culture outgrowth process.