Microbiology emojis to hit phones this year

February 09, 2018

The global nonprofit organization that coordinates emojis (yes, such a thing exists) is releasing over 150 new emojis this year, including common laboratory and microbiology-related icons.

The Unicode Consortium, which maintains the software and data standards that allow emojis to be consistent across devices, has included in its latest batch six symbols that will be familiar to anyone who's spent time in a microbiology lab:

- A lab coat

- Safety goggles, which are always important

- A Petri dish (if you look closely, you can see it even has colonies growing within)

- A test tube

- A DNA molecule

- A microbe, which Rapid Micro Methods says “looks like E. coli on steroids!”

The emojis join an already-existing microscope symbol. Look forward to jazzing up your texts to micro-bio friends more than ever before.

Why is a nonprofit needed for this, exactly?

Ever wonder why when you send a pumpkin emoji from your Apple phone, your friend sees a slightly different pumpkin on his Android phone, and not some other symbol? Why would different companies coordinate the code behind their emojis like that?

That’s because the Unicode Consortium creates guidelines so that the code sent from phone to phone represents a pumpkin, no matter what. Each phone software maker creates its own art for the symbol, but what the symbol represents has already been determined by the organization’s code.

Anyone can submit an emoji for consideration. Proposals go through a thorough vetting process, however.

“People need to make a case as to why they think their emoji is going to be frequently used, how it breaks new ground, how it is different from other emojis that have already been encoded,” said Mark Davis, Unicode Consortium co-founder and president.

The rest of the new emojis coming soon can be seen here.