BioTek Instruments, Inc. is a privately held Vermont–based manufacturer notable for microplate instrumentation and bio-analytics software for life science. It designs, builds, and sells detection, washing, liquid dispensing and automation products that are compatible with various microplate formats. Microplates, sometimes referred to as Microtiter (microtitre) plates, are typically found in flat or round bottom configurations with multiple wells arranged in a rectangular matrix often made of polystyrene or polypropylene. They are used by medical and scientific researchers for screening and measurement and numerous other purposes by biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, university science departments, clinics, food manufacturers and nonprofits such as the American Red Cross. According to CEO Briar Alpert, BioTeks instruments help researchers in the life sciences, drug research, and disease analysis to better understand biological processes at the cellular and molecular level. The firm was begun in 1968 by University of Vermont physiologist Dr.Norman Alpert who developed biomedical testing equipment. The initial focus of the biomedical business was hospital safety and quality assurance with products that included medical safety analyzers, cardiac simulators, and defibrilator testers. In 1981, the firm built its first microplate reader, leading to the creation of BioTeks Laboratory Instrumentation Division. By 1984, it wrote software to log data, which worked on various personal computers including the Apple II Plus and the IBM PC. In 1986, the firm moved R&D and marketing and sales departments to Colchester, Vermont but then moved in 1990 to the Highland Park section of Winooski. In 1987, it offered a stacking automated reader that could read up to 25 plates at a time. The firm adopted voice mail technology in 1991 and buried a time capsule that is scheduled to be opened October 2041.