Go free & open-source with your laboratory
If you have a laboratory (or a garage like me) you may benefit greatly from open source hardware and software. It is a common complaint from the professional researchers that I know that most solutions are unreasonably expensive. Depending on your application, it may be worthwhile for you to actually construct your own equipment from easily ordered low cost parts. Further, there is an amazing body of open source software that you can download and use for free to run your automation, experiments, and data collection.
I started the day searching for some 3D-printable iPhone microscope parts, and amassed a little collection of links in the process. The list is far from complete, but I found what I was looking for! You may find some open source equipment for your lab, makerspace, or tech-studio as well:
Open Source Lab Hardware
Phys.org Article: Making a difference with open source science equipment
Book: Open-Source Lab
Open-Source Lab: How to Build Your Own Hardware and Reduce Research Costs by Joshua M. Pearce was published in 2014 by Elsevier (ISBN 9780124104624)
Thingiverse.com collection by author Joshua M. Pearce, "Open-source Scientific Tools"
Scienfic American article: How to make free open source laboratory hardware
Arduino and LabVIEW on instructables
Alternativeto.net list: Alternative to LabVIEW