Acronym of the week

WE’RE all used to seeing acronyms and abbreviations used – and sometimes abused – in the names of items of lab equipment and the names of scientific instrument companies. Sometimes these are quite clever, and make us smile. Sometimes they are a bit confusing, and make us look to a popular search engine for clarification. And sometimes they are just plain odd.

Today’s postbag brought some news from Tap Biosystems, informing us that its new Raft system for 3D cell culture will be on display at a conference in Zurich next week. We mentioned the system on LabHomepage about a month ago, but today’s news release included an extra bit of information that was not available then.

Raft, it turns out, is an acronym – a word made up from the initial letters of a phrase. Like any curious scientist, we wanted to know more. And so we discover that Raft stands for ‘Real Architecture for 3D Tissue’, which is fine as long as you speak with a lisp: Real Architecture for Free-dee Tissue.

I suppose ‘Ratt’ would have been a less appealing product name.

The observant among you will note that Tap Biosystems is itself an acronym, and that the company was known as The Automation Partnership until last year. They seem to have a bit of a thing for acronyms, down at its Royston headquarters.

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