When we think of lab automation systems, we think of systems that are capable of inspecting elements but their suitability to carry out such tasks depends on a number of factors. Someone once asked me whether or not a robot would be capable of carrying out the final inspection of experimental product. This proved to be a difficult question to answer, as it is unclear whether automated machines can be decisive when evaluating the final stage of an experiment. In fact I would say that at present this technology is certainly not capable of such feats but who knows what their capabilities may be in the future.
I would still trust a human operative over a robotic one when it comes to making these kinds of decisions. Perhaps in situations where there a few obvious anomalies with the final product, a detection system or inspection device could be used to quality assure the product. In manufacturing environments, such a system could be used to detect parts that were missing from the product or broken pieces that had been damaged during the manufacturing process. These tasks are highly suitable for this system and there are many benefits to using inspection systems in this way. The process is normally carried out by human operatives who seem to fall short when executing this task, often missing defects or anomalies. This is why this role needs to be carried out by robotic systems and this is also why companies have spent so much money developing this technology.
The question needs to be answered; why is it human operatives are unable to adequately carry out inspection work? It seems to be the repetition of this task causes the human brain to effectively tune out, making it increasingly more likely they will miss any defects or missing parts. In a similar way to how a word processor works, a machine can perform a search of a document to find a single word in a few seconds. This is a task that may take a human operative hours but there are no guarantees that the word will be found. A human operative has difficulty fully focusing when the task is of a repetitive nature but a machine can handle this task without any issues. Even if a human being could manage to achieve this task, the role would be so boring that they most certainly would quit. This is before taking into account how hazardous such a job may be to the operative, with eye strain being a common issue.