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"The whole problem of energy sources is going to be solved by little solutions, not by some big new piece of technology that does everything. We got into this crisis by believing that we had one big piece of technology that would do everything (oil)."
- Gregory Benford

Specimen Track  
  A means for transporting laboratory specimens from one workstation to another in an automated lab.  

As far as I know, there is no real product that corresponds to this item.

Down a short hall and to the right, they came upon the unexpected mother lode; a fully equipped molecular biology and genetics lab, six hundred square feet under a high ceiling, crammed with equipment...

The sorter and analyzers were connected by steel and white plastic automated specimen tracks, running like a little railroad through diffraction molecular imagers, inoculators/incubators, and a variety of video microscopes - including two up-to-the-minute carbon force counters. All magnificently automated. A one- or at most two-person lab.

From Darwin's Children, by Greg Bear.
Published by Del Rey in 2003
Additional resources -

In the course of the last two hundred years, a number of technologies were developed to move small pieces of paper or similar items from place to place. The ones I'm thinking of were used to transport money or receipts from one place to another in a business. Pneumatic tube systems were one example; in this case, an elaborate system of tubing was built within (and between) large buildings to carry materials. These systems were expensive (much like specimen tracks would be) but were cheaper than the alternative; that is, hiring someone to move the object from one place to the next.

Another system, which was in use through the 1980's in a store in my home town, was a kind of gondola and trolley system. A clerk would wait on a customer and then total the items near the entrance to the store. The customer would hand the clerk the money (this was pre-Visa). The clerk would place the money and the totalled bill in a small "gondola" or box which was then lifted about twenty feet in the air, where it attached itself to a sort of train track. The "train" would then go to the inaccessible rear portion of the store, where the accountants would process the transaction, checking the clerk's work, and then returning change and a receipt.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Darwin's Children
  More Ideas and Technology by Greg Bear
  Tech news articles related to Darwin's Children
  Tech news articles related to works by Greg Bear

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