The accelerating pace of the discovery of genes has far surpassed our capabilities to understand their biological function--in other words, the phenotypes they engender. We need efficient and comprehensive large-scale phenotyping technologies. This presents a difficult challenge because phenotypes are numerous and diverse, and they can be observed and annotated at the molecular, cellular and organismal level. New technologies and approaches will therefore be required. Here, I describe recent efforts to develop new and efficient technologies for assessing cellular phenotypes.