Multi Channel Experimenter
Manual
Imprint
Information in this document is subject to change without notice. No part of this document may
be reproduced or transmitted without the express written permission of Multi Channel Systems
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document.
© 2017 Multi Channel Systems MCS GmbH. All rights reserved.
Printed: December 17
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Germany
Phone +49-71 21-90 92 5 - 0
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to these trademarks.
Table of Contents
1 Welcome to the Multi Channel Experimenter ............................................................................................... 7
2 Before You Start ............................................................................................................................................ 7
2.1 Terms of Use .................................................................................................................................................. 7
2.2 Limitation of Liability ..................................................................................................................................... 7
2.3 Important Safety Advice ................................................................................................................................ 7
3 Installation and Updates ............................................................................................................................... 8
3.1 Recommended Operating System Settings ................................................................................................... 8
3.2 Compatible Hardware ................................................................................................................................... 8
4 General Software Features ............................................................................................................................ 9
4.1 Functional Principle ....................................................................................................................................... 9
4.1.1 Designing an Experiment ....................................................................................................................... 9
4.1.2 Save and Load an Experiment .............................................................................................................. 10
4.1.3 Instrument Control Windows ............................................................................................................... 11
4.1.4 Multiple Data Sources, Multiple Software Instances ........................................................................... 11
4.2 Data Types ................................................................................................................................................... 12
4.3 File Types ..................................................................................................................................................... 12
4.4 Main Menu .................................................................................................................................................. 13
4.5 Settings ........................................................................................................................................................ 14
4.6 General Display Features............................................................................................................................. 15
5 Instruments ................................................................................................................................................. 17
5.1 Data Sources General .................................................................................................................................. 17
5.2 Data Source: MEA2100-System ................................................................................................................... 18
5.2.1 Description and Purpose ...................................................................................................................... 18
5.2.2 Data Ports and Export Options ............................................................................................................. 18
5.2.3 Operation ............................................................................................................................................. 18
5.2.3.1 Custom Display Layouts ................................................................................................................ 19
5.2.3.2 Audio Settings ............................................................................................................................... 20
5.2.3.3 Real Time Feedback....................................................................................................................... 20
5.2.4 Digital Out ............................................................................................................................................ 24
5.2.4.1 Digital Out Bit Selection ................................................................................................................ 24
5.2.4.2 Digital Out Generator .................................................................................................................... 25
5.2.5 Examples: How to … ............................................................................................................................. 28
5.2.5.1 Record Electrode Raw Data, Analog Data and Trigger Events ...................................................... 28
5.2.5.2 Generate a Closed Loop Stimulation on Simultaneous Spikes on Two Electrodes ....................... 29
5.2.5.3 Control a Valve Perfusion System with the Digital Out Generator ............................................... 29
5.3 Data Source: MEA2100-Mini-System .......................................................................................................... 31
5.3.1 Description and Purpose ...................................................................................................................... 31
5.3.2 Data Ports and Export Options ............................................................................................................. 31
5.3.3 Operation ............................................................................................................................................. 31
5.3.3.1 Overview Data Display .................................................................................................................. 32
5.3.3.2 Custom Display Layouts ................................................................................................................ 32
5.3.3.3 Audio Settings ............................................................................................................................... 33
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5.3.4 Digital Out ............................................................................................................................................ 33
5.3.4.1 Digital Out Bit Selection ................................................................................................................ 34
5.3.4.2 Digital Out Generator .................................................................................................................... 35
5.4 Data Source: ME2100-System ..................................................................................................................... 38
5.4.1 Description and Purpose ...................................................................................................................... 38
5.4.2 Data Ports and Export Options ............................................................................................................. 38
5.4.3 Operation ............................................................................................................................................. 38
5.4.3.1 Overview Data Display .................................................................................................................. 39
5.4.3.2 Electrode Layouts and Display Layouts ......................................................................................... 39
5.4.3.3 Reference Electrode ...................................................................................................................... 40
5.4.3.4 Audio Settings ............................................................................................................................... 41
5.4.4 Digital Out ............................................................................................................................................ 41
5.4.4.1 Digital Out Bit Selection ................................................................................................................ 41
5.4.4.2 Digital Out Generator .................................................................................................................... 43
5.5 Data Source: W2100-System ....................................................................................................................... 46
5.5.1 Description and Purpose ...................................................................................................................... 46
5.5.2 Data Ports and Export Options ............................................................................................................. 46
5.5.3 Operation ............................................................................................................................................. 46
5.5.3.1 Single and Multi Headstage Mode ................................................................................................ 47
5.5.3.2 Select Headstage ........................................................................................................................... 48
5.5.3.3 Available Channels ........................................................................................................................ 48
5.5.3.4 Individual Instrument Settings in Multiple Headstage Mode ....................................................... 48
5.5.3.5 Overview Data Display in Multi Headstage Mode......................................................................... 49
5.5.3.6 Custom Layouts ............................................................................................................................. 49
5.5.3.7 Audio Settings ............................................................................................................................... 50
5.5.3.8 Suspend Mode .............................................................................................................................. 50
5.5.3.9 Video Synchronization................................................................................................................... 50
5.5.3.10 Analog Output DAC Range .......................................................................................................... 51
5.5.4 Gyroscope and Accelerometer Data .................................................................................................... 52
5.5.5 Digital Out ............................................................................................................................................ 53
5.5.5.1 Digital Out Bit Selection ................................................................................................................ 53
5.5.5.2 Digital Out Generator .................................................................................................................... 54
5.5.6 Examples: How to … ............................................................................................................................. 57
5.5.6.1 Record Five Minutes per Hour Overnight Automatically .............................................................. 57
5.5.6.2 Record Four Headstages in Parallel ............................................................................................... 58
5.5.6.3 Generate a Synchronization Pulse for an External Device ............................................................ 59
5.6 Data Source: Basic Wireless-System ............................................................................................................ 60
5.6.1 Description and Purpose ...................................................................................................................... 60
5.6.2 Data Ports and Export Options ............................................................................................................. 60
5.6.3 Operation ............................................................................................................................................. 60
5.6.4 Examples: How to … ............................................................................................................................. 61
5.6.4.1 Record with Increased Sampling Rate by Sacrificing Recording Channels .................................... 61
5.6.4.2 Record Electrode Data and Time Stamps for Two Different Behavioral Tasks ............................. 62
5.7 Data Source: USB-ME-System ..................................................................................................................... 63
5.7.1 Description and Purpose ...................................................................................................................... 63
5.7.2 Data Ports and Export Options ............................................................................................................. 63
5.7.3 Operation ............................................................................................................................................. 63
5.7.3.1 Gain Setting ................................................................................................................................... 64
5.7.3.2 Custom Layouts ............................................................................................................................. 65
5.7.4 Examples: How to … ............................................................................................................................. 65
5.7.4.1 Record Electrode Raw Data and Trigger Events ............................................................................ 65
5.7.4.2 Record Sweeps Triggered by an External Stimulator .................................................................... 66
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5.8 Stimulators: Stimulator of the MEA2100- and ME2100-System ................................................................. 67
5.8.1 Description and Purpose ...................................................................................................................... 67
5.8.2 Data Ports and Export Options ............................................................................................................. 67
5.8.3 Operation ............................................................................................................................................. 67
5.8.3.1 Operation MEA2100 ...................................................................................................................... 67
5.8.3.2 Operation ME2100 ........................................................................................................................ 68
5.8.3.3 Start / Stop / Settings .................................................................................................................... 69
5.8.3.4 Stimulator Control Functions ........................................................................................................ 70
5.8.3.5 Defining a Stimulation Paradigm ................................................................................................... 71
5.8.3.6 Primitives....................................................................................................................................... 71
5.8.3.7 Marker and Digital Outputs ........................................................................................................... 75
5.8.4 Trigger Output ...................................................................................................................................... 76
5.9 Stimulators: SCU Stimulator ........................................................................................................................ 77
5.9.1 Description and Purpose ...................................................................................................................... 77
5.9.2 Data Ports and Export Options ............................................................................................................. 77
5.9.3 Operation ............................................................................................................................................. 77
5.9.3.1 Start / Stop .................................................................................................................................... 78
5.9.3.2 Stimulator Control Functions ........................................................................................................ 78
5.9.3.3 Defining a Stimulation Paradigm ................................................................................................... 79
5.9.3.4 Primitives....................................................................................................................................... 80
5.9.3.5 Marker and Digital Outputs ........................................................................................................... 82
5.9.4 Trigger Output ...................................................................................................................................... 83
5.10 Stimulators: Stimulator of the W2100-System .......................................................................................... 84
5.10.1 Description and Purpose .................................................................................................................... 84
5.10.2 Data Ports and Export Options ........................................................................................................... 84
5.10.3 Operating Multiple Stimulation Headstages ...................................................................................... 84
5.10.4 Start and Stop..................................................................................................................................... 84
5.10.5 Operation: Electrical Stimulation ....................................................................................................... 85
5.10.5.1 Basic ............................................................................................................................................ 85
5.10.5.2 IO-Curve ...................................................................................................................................... 86
5.10.6 Operation: Optical Stimulation .......................................................................................................... 87
5.10.7 Trigger Output .................................................................................................................................... 88
5.11 Recorder .................................................................................................................................................... 89
5.11.1 Description and Purpose .................................................................................................................... 89
5.11.2 Data Ports and Export Options ........................................................................................................... 89
5.11.3 Operation ........................................................................................................................................... 89
5.11.4 Examples: How to … ........................................................................................................................... 90
5.11.4.1 Record Segments of Electrode Raw Data after each external TTL .............................................. 90
5.11.4.2 Use a Gate Trigger to Control Recording..................................................................................... 91
5.12 Trigger Generator ...................................................................................................................................... 92
5.12.1 Description and Purpose .................................................................................................................... 92
5.12.2 Data Ports and Export Options ........................................................................................................... 92
5.12.3 Operation ........................................................................................................................................... 92
5.12.4 Examples: How to … ........................................................................................................................... 93
5.12.4.1 Record Segments of Electrode Raw Data automatically overnight ............................................. 93
5.12.4.2 Set Manual Marker Events during Recording.............................................................................. 94
5.13 Sweeps....................................................................................................................................................... 95
5.13.1 Description and Purpose .................................................................................................................... 95
5.13.2 Data Ports and Export Options ........................................................................................................... 95
5.13.3 Operation ........................................................................................................................................... 95
5.13.4 Examples: How to … ........................................................................................................................... 95
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5.14 Sweep Analyzer ......................................................................................................................................... 96
5.14.1 Description and Purpose .................................................................................................................... 96
5.14.2 Data Ports and Export Options ........................................................................................................... 96
5.14.3 Operation ........................................................................................................................................... 96
5.14.4 Example: How to do a LTP Experiment with two Stimulation Pathways ........................................... 98
5.15 Filter ........................................................................................................................................................ 100
5.15.1 Description and Purpose .................................................................................................................. 100
5.15.2 Data Ports and Export Options ......................................................................................................... 100
5.15.3 Operation ......................................................................................................................................... 100
5.15.3.1 Filter Characteristics .................................................................................................................. 101
5.15.3.2 High Pass ................................................................................................................................... 101
5.15.3.3 Low Pass .................................................................................................................................... 101
5.15.3.4 Band Pass .................................................................................................................................. 101
5.15.4 Examples: How to … ......................................................................................................................... 102
5.15.4.1 Differentiate Theta Waves and Spike Activity from a Raw Data Signal..................................... 102
5.15.4.2 Remove 50 Hz Noise .................................................................................................................. 102
5.16 Digital Event Detector ............................................................................................................................. 103
5.16.1 Description and Purpose .................................................................................................................. 103
5.16.2 Data Ports and Export Options ......................................................................................................... 103
5.16.3 Operation ......................................................................................................................................... 103
5.16.3.1 Advanced Mode ........................................................................................................................ 104
5.16.3.2 Simple Mode ............................................................................................................................. 104
5.16.4 Events and Bits tab ........................................................................................................................... 105
5.16.5 Examples: How to … ......................................................................................................................... 105
5.16.5.1 Record Automatically with a W2100 System as long as a Sensor Detects Movement ............. 106
5.16.5.2 Record Sweeps Triggered by an External Stimulator ................................................................ 106
5.17 Cross-Channel .......................................................................................................................................... 107
5.17.1 Description and Purpose .................................................................................................................. 107
5.17.2 Data Ports and Export Options ......................................................................................................... 107
5.17.3 Operation ......................................................................................................................................... 107
5.17.3.1 Simple Reference ...................................................................................................................... 108
5.17.3.2 Complex Reference ................................................................................................................... 108
5.17.3.3 Pairwise Channel Operation ...................................................................................................... 108
5.17.4 Examples: How to … ......................................................................................................................... 109
5.17.4.1 Remove Common Artefacts from a Wireless Recording ........................................................... 109
5.17.4.2 Do Differential Measurements between Pairs of Electrodes .................................................... 109
5.18 Spike Detector ......................................................................................................................................... 110
5.18.1 Description and Purpose .................................................................................................................. 110
5.18.2 Data Ports and Export Options ......................................................................................................... 110
5.18.3 Operation ......................................................................................................................................... 110
5.18.3.1 Detection by Manual Threshold ................................................................................................ 111
5.18.3.2 Detection by Threshold ............................................................................................................. 111
5.18.3.3 Detection by Slope .................................................................................................................... 112
5.18.3.4 Spike Cutouts ............................................................................................................................ 112
5.18.4 Examples: How to … ......................................................................................................................... 112
5.18.4.1 Do Long Term Recordings with Spike Data only ........................................................................ 113
5.18.4.2 Extract Spikes from a Noisy Signal ............................................................................................ 113
6 Support and Troubleshooting .................................................................................................................... 114
7 Contact Information .................................................................................................................................. 114
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1 Welcome to the Multi Channel Experimenter
The Multi Channel Experimenter is the online data acquisition software of the Multi Channel Suite
package. The Multi Channel Analyzer is for offline analysis of data generated with the Experimenter, and
the Multi Channel DataManager allows to export Experimenter Data to 3rd party file formats. Please read
the following chapters to understand the general concept of the Multi Channel Suite before starting.
2 Before You Start
2.1 Terms of Use
You are free to use Multi Channel Experimenter for its intended purpose. You agree that you will not
decompile, reverse engineer, or otherwise attempt to discover the source code of the software.
2.2 Limitation of Liability
Multi Channel Systems MCS GmbH makes no guarantee as to the accuracy of any and all tests and data
generated by the use the Multi Channel Experimenter software. It is up to the user to use good laboratory
practice to establish the validity of his findings. To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, in no
event shall Multi Channel Systems MCS GmbH or its suppliers be liable for any special, incidental, indirect,
or consequential damages whatsoever (including, without limitation, injuries, damages for data loss, loss
of business profits, business interruption, loss of business information, or any other pecuniary loss) arising
out of the use of or inability to use Multi Channel Experimenter or the provision of or failure to provide
Support Services, even if Multi Channel Systems MCS GmbH has been advised of the possibility of such
damages.
2.3 Important Safety Advice
Warning: Make sure to read the following advices prior to install or to use Multi Channel
Experimenter. If you do not fulfil all requirements stated below, this may lead to
malfunctions or breakage of connected hardware, or even fatal injuries. Obey always
the rules of local regulations and laws. Only qualified personnel should be allowed to
perform laboratory work. Work according to good laboratory practice to obtain best
results and to minimize risks. Make always sure to validate your findings. Prepare backup
copies on a regular basis to avoid data loss.
The operator is obliged to ensure that Multi Channel Experimenter is only be used for its intended
purpose and that it is only used by qualified personnel.
Important: Multi Channel Experimenter software is developed for Multi Channel Systems MCS devices.
MCS devices are not intended for medical uses and must not be used on humans, especially not for uses
that could impair health.
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3 Installation and Updates
One of the following Microsoft Windows ® operating systems is required: Windows 10, 8.1 or
Windows 7 (English and German versions supported) with the NT file system (NTFS). Other language
versions may lead to software errors. For operating devices with USB 3.0 connection, Windows 10
or 8.1 are strongly recommended, as frequent errors are reported with USB 3.0 under Windows 7.
If a computer was acquired from MCS, the Multi Channel Suite will be preinstalled. Updates are available
for free download on a regular basis from the MCS web site. It is recommended always to install the latest
software version. To install the software, download and start the respective *.exe file and follow the
instructions on the screen. It is possible that at the first use after installation of an update the software
offers a firmware upgrade. Allow the firmware upgrade and follow the instructions on the screen.
3.1 Recommended Operating System Settings
The following automatic services of the Windows operating system interfere with the data storage on the
hard disk and can lead to severe performance limits in Multi Channel Experimenter. These routines were
designed for use on office computers, but are not very useful for a data acquisition computer.
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Turn off Screen Saver.
Turn off Windows Indexing Service. Only important for data hard drive.
Manual management of automatic Windows Update.
Power Options: Power scheme: Never turn off monitor, hard disk and system standby.
It is also not recommended to run any applications in the background when using Multi Channel
Experimenter. Remove all applications from the Autostart folder. Be careful when using a Virus Scanner.
These programs are known to disturb Multi Channel Experimenter and even data loss may occur.
Please be sure to install the newest USB driver and/or the driver for main board chip set available.
This is recommended if there are problems with the data acquisition.
When using a MEA2100-120-System or a MEA2100-2x60-System it is recommended to connect a high
performance computer with a separate hard disc for program files and data storage. The provided
possibility to use up to 240 channels with a sample rate of up to 50 kHz needs high memory capacity.
Please remove data and defragment the hard disc regularly to ensure optimal performance.
Warning: If purchased from MCS, the operating system settings of the data acquisition
computer were preconfigured by MCS and should not be changed by the user. Changing
these settings can lead to program instabilities and data loss.
3.2 Compatible Hardware
The Multi Channel Experimenter will operate only with data acquisition systems from Multi Channel
Systems. Currently the MEA2100-, the ME2100-, the W2100-, the Basic Wireless-System and the USB-ME
data acquisition systems are supported (USB-ME16/32, USB-ME64/128/256), in all respective variations.
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4 General Software Features
The Multi Channel Suite consists of four parts: The Multi Channel Experimenter for online data
acquisition, the Multi Channel Analyzer for offline data analysis, the Multi Channel DataManager for
data conversion, and the Multi Channel VideoControl for controlling a video camera. Many features
and concepts apply to all parts.
4.1 Functional Principle
Open the software with a double click on the Multi Channel Experimenter icon, or select it from the start
menu.
The Multi Channel Experimenter operates with virtual instruments, which can be combined and saved
as so called Experiments for later use. When opening the software, all available instruments are shown
as blue icons on the left hand side of the screen. Each icon can be dragged and dropped in the main
window.
4.1.1 Designing an Experiment
Most instruments have color coded data ports. Ports on the upper side represent data input to the
instrument, ports on the lower side represent data outputs of the instrument. Only ports with matching
colors can be connected by drawing a connection line between a data output and one or more data
inputs. Data flows along those lines from the data source through the instruments.
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An instrument without connected data inputs is not functional. Please see movie for illustration.
Hovering the mouse pointer above an Output Port will give you a Tooltip with the data type the port
provides. A right click on a data connection allows to delete the connection. A right click on an
instrument brings up a menu which allows to delete or rename the instrument.
4.1.2 Save and Load an Experiment
Once a configuration of instruments has been designed, it can be saved for later use. Such a configuration
is called Experiment, and can be saved and loaded from the main menu bar. The file extension for an
Experiment file is *.mse. The Save and Load Experiment functions do not save or load data, just the
combination of instruments.
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4.1.3 Instrument Control Windows
A double click on each instrument opens a tab with the control interface for that instrument. Each
instrument has its’ own control window tab. The tab of the selected data source always shows the
raw data. Most instruments can be selected more than once, and be connected in parallel or in series.
Exceptions are the data source, the recorder, and the stimulator, which can be selected only once.
The connecting lines between the instruments represent the flow of data. In the example above, there
is a stream of raw data coming from the data source MEA2100 into the recorder directly, and will
consequently be recorded in the file. The same raw data stream is processed through a 20 Hz high pass
filter, and the filtered data is further processed by the Cross-Channel Tool. The data processed by those
two instruments is then connected to the recorder, and will generate a second data stream with filtered
AND referenced data in the recorded file. A third data stream will be the raw data filtered by a 50 Hz
notch filter.
Instruments operate as independent units. They process the data from the respective input port and
generate one or more data streams in the output port(s). Settings have to be done separately for each
instrument in the respective control window tab.
4.1.4 Multiple Data Sources, Multiple Software Instances
If multiple data sources are connected to the computer, they are indicated as separate icons in the Multi
Channel Experimenter. In case of a MEA2100-HS2x60, each individual MEA slot is a separate data source.
Only one data source can be used in one instance of the Experimenter. Multiple instances can be
opened simultaneously to control different data sources independently, for example two instances to
control the two MEAs of a MEA2100-HS2x60. The active data source is shown in a light blue color. Data
sources already occupied by another instance of the software are shown in grey. Not selected but
available data sources are darker blue.
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4.2 Data Types
The types of data occurring in the Experimenter, as indicated by the color-coded ports are:
Blue: Electrode data, raw or filtered, Cross-Channel data. These data types have the same
structure and the same compatibility with instruments, hence they use the same data port color.
Green: Auxiliary analog data from the additional analog inputs on the Interface Board.
Red: Digital data, the 16 bit digital data stream from the Interface Board.
Pink: Trigger events.
Orange: Spike cutouts generated by the Spike Detector instrument, a fragment of data around
a detected spike.
Yellow: Spike time stamps generated by the Spike Detector Instrument, just the time stamp of
a detected spike.
Cyan: Sweep data, as generated by the Sweeps tool, a fragment of data around a trigger event.
Light brown: Gyroscope data, rotation versus time from wireless headstages.
Dark brown: Accelerometer data, acceleration in x y z direction from wireless headstages.
4.3 File Types
The types of files occurring in the Experimenter are:

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*.mse: Experiment file, a configuration of instruments. Created manually by the user.
*.msrd: Data file, generated by the Recorder, contains the raw data of all data streams.
*.msrs: Settings file, generated by the Recorder, must also be present to open a data file in the
Multi Channel Analyzer.
*.html: Instrument settings, one *.html file is generated by the Recorder with each data file.
Each *.html is linked to the *.xml files of the individual instruments.
*. xml: One *.xml per instrument is generated for each recording. It contains all settings of the
respective instrument. Stimulation patterns in the Stimulator instrument can also be saved as
*.xml files by the user.
*.nsf: Stimulation paradigm of the W2100 electrical stimulator.
*.osf: Stimulation paradigm of the W2100 optical stimulator.
All files generated during a recording have the same name, in case of the *.xml files with an extension
representing the instrument name ([file name][instrument name].xml).
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4.4 Main Menu
The main menu bar contains the major control functions for starting and stopping the Data Acquisition,
the Data Recording and the Stimulator, as well as the Save or Load options for Experiment files.
Furthermore, there is a button to open the general settings.
The Start / Stop controls can be undocked from the main Menu and be dragged anywhere. They will
always stay on top of all other windows.
The Start / Stop DAQ button controls the data acquisition, but does not yet start recording data. The
Recorder can be in three conditions, Off, On (actually recording data) or Standby (armed and waiting
for start condition). Standby can happen if the Recording is activated, but the DAQ is still off, or if the
Recording is set to start on a Trigger event, and the software is waiting for the trigger.
The lower menu bars contains information about the ongoing recording, available disc space and status
LEDs for Trigger events and the internal stimulators, provided that the respective instruments are in
use. In the example below, two Digital Event Detectors and all three Stimulator units were used.
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4.5 Settings
The settings include the Start option again, Clear all instruments, the Info page on the software version
(About) and the file path settings. The Multi Channel Experimenter uses a default file path for data
and Experiment files, which can be changed in this menu.
The Help will open the latest version of the manual directly from the MCS web site. This is of course only
available if the data acquisition computer is online. About will show the currently software version.
It is recommended to use the Check for Updates function on a regular basis. Free upgrades of the Multi
Channel Suite are released on a regular basis.
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4.6 General Display Features
In most control windows, there are additional display or control functions which can be hidden or
shown, as need be. By default, if more than one control window is open, they are shown as tabs,
and only one window is visible at a time. This option is called “Dockable”.
However, there is also the option to make individual control windows Floating. A floating window
can be individually resized and dragged anywhere, also out of the main Experimenter window and onto
a second monitor. All control windows can also be hidden, either with the Pin Icon, or from the drop
down menu (Auto Hide). Hidden windows go to a sidebar on the left side of the Experimenter window.
To make them visible again, hover the mouse over the sidebar. A part of the control window will pop up
and you can click the pin icon to unhide it.
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In all control windows, all channels of the data acquisition are shown, and one channel can be selected
to be shown in the Zoom Display below. Both displays can be controlled independently (pause/resume,
scaling). All Displays share similar scaling and zoom functions. Under each display the x- and y-axis scaling
can be changed. Data displays can be paused and resumed while the data acquisition is running,
without interfering with the actual data recording.
In a paused display, it’s possible to zoom in by dragging a frame around the region of interest. A double
click will reset the zoom to fit the signal. The return button will return to the scaling currently selected in
the drop down menu.
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5 Instruments
In the following chapters, all instruments of the Multi Channel Experimenter are described individually.
Instruments operate as independent units. They process the data from the respective input port and
generate one or more data streams in the output port(s). Settings have to be done separately for each
instrument in the respective control tab. Instruments without a connection to the respective input ports
are not functional. Data generated by an instrument is only recorded if the output port is connected
to the recorder.
5.1 Data Sources General
All data sources can be added only once to the Experiment. They have only data output ports and no
data inputs. All data source instruments show unfiltered raw data for all available channels. The control
window of each data source contains the same main control functions:
Only the available sampling rates for the respective device and recording mode turn up in the Sampling
Rate drop down menu. The additional eight Analog Input channels on the Interface Board (green data
port) can be individually toggled in a pop up menu. All relevant information about the connected
hardware is also available.
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5.2 Data Source: MEA2100-System
5.2.1 Description and Purpose
The MEA2100-System is supported in all available headstage variations. One MEA is always operated
independently by one instance of the software, also in case of the MEA2100-2x60 headstage. The icon
indicates which headstage and MEA it represents. 1 or 2 indicate the headstage connected to port 1
or 2 of the Interface Board, A and B indicate the left or right MEA on a 2x60 headstage. The type of
connected headstage (1x32, 2x32, 1x60, 2x60 or 1x120) is detected automatically. Once the MEA2100System is added to the instrument configuration, the MEA2100 Stimulator will also become available as
instrument. Please also see movie for illustration.
5.2.2 Data Ports and Export Options
The MEA2100-System has four output ports: Electrode Raw Data (blue), Analog Data (green) Digital Data
(red) and Triggers (pink). As with all data sources, there are no input ports. The MEA2100-System can be
connected directly with any number of other instruments with blue or red input ports. The green port can
only be connected to the Recorder at the moment. There are no export options.
5.2.3 Operation
The MEA2100 data source control window shows all available data channels, and optionally also the
additional Analog Input channels from the Interface Board. If a standard MEA is used, the respective
layout can be selected from a drop down list, to match the display to the actual electrode configuration.
Individual channels can be toggled by clicking on them. Deactivated channels will neither be displayed
nor recorded. [shift] click or [crtl] click on any electrode will toggle the whole row or column. Hover the
mouse pointer over an electrode channel for a few seconds to bring up the hardware channel ID for
that electrode.
- 18 -
The required MEA layout, which will define the display layout for the MEA2100-System data source and
all other instruments, can be selected from a drop down list. Based on the automatically detected
headstage type, only compatible layouts will show up in the list. If a 60-6wellMEA is selected, channels of
only one well are displayed at a time, other wells can be selected by mouse click. This does not affect the
recording in any way.
5.2.3.1 Custom Display Layouts
To generate a custom layout for the display, click the Settings icon under the main display. The following
menu will allow to generate any desired electrode grid, and then assign channels to any grid position.
The label of the electrodes is defined by the layout selected from the drop down list. To get the linear
hardware channel IDs, select Linear60 as MEA layout from the drop down list.
Currently, the Custom Display Layout is only available for the data source.
- 19 -
5.2.3.2 Audio Settings
To route individual electrode channels to the Stereo Audio Output on the Interface Board, open the Audio
Settings.
Sound can be either mono or stereo, each electrode channel can be assigned to the two audio channels.
Volume control is also independent. The Audio output will generate an audio signal from the raw data of
the selected channel(s) in real time.
5.2.3.3 Real Time Feedback
The Real Time Feedback (RTF) option can detect spikes and generate a feedback stimulation with the
internal stimulator with a time delay of only about 1 ms. In addition to starting the internal STG, an
outgoing TTL can be generated to control an external device by the RTF. The events generated by the
RTF are available as triggers on the pink port of the MEA2100 data acquisition.
To achieve this fast feedback, the data is processed on a digital signal processor (DSP) inside the Interface
Board before being send to the PC via USB. The DSP can also filter the data before signal detection,
therefore the user has the option to send filtered or unfiltered data to the PC. After filtering, signals
are detected based on a detection threshold. The detection threshold can be either positive or negative.
Once the RTF is activated, the detection thresholds show up as red lines in the data display. In Manual
Threshold mode, the threshold for each electrode can be selected manually by typing in a value, or by
dragging the red line in the zoom display.
Alternatively, in Threshold mode the threshold can be calculated individually for each channel based on
the standard deviation of the noise on each channel times a user defined factor. Clicking on Estimate will
recalculate the standard deviation. Factors between 4 and 6 usually work best, depending on noise and
signal size.
Once the data is filtered and events are detected, a user defined feedback logic on the DSP determines
whether a feedback stimulation and/or TTL output is generated. The feedback mechanism operates with
- 20 -
logical states. The logical state of an electrode, or a combination of electrodes, can be TRUE or FALSE
regarding the condition defined by the user. If necessary, the logical states of more than one electrode are
combined (see AND and OR function below). A TTL is generated if the logical states, or the combination
of logical states, fulfil the user defined condition.
First, select one or more channels from the electrode field which should be monitored for signals. Select
a Time Window in milliseconds from the numeric updown box. The time window defines the time in
which the rates of signals should be counted. For performance reasons, the window is limited to 1000 ms.
The time window is not a fixed time bin, but a moving window. For example if the window is set to 1 s,
and a rate of 10 Hz is set as condition, the condition is fulfilled as soon as 10 events within a second are
detected. Therefore, it may not happen that these ten events fall by chance in two separate time bins and
are not counted as 10 Hz.
Important: For the purpose of this feature, a Rate is defined as the number of events in the selected time
window.
Select the Event Duration in milliseconds from the numeric updown box. The Event Duration is the time
after a crossing of the detection threshold that the detection condition is considered as fulfilled. This
duration influences the length of the resulting feedback TTL, and is especially important when the input
from several electrodes is combined with the AND and OR function (see below). That means, for the
Feedback Logic, the logical state of a channel becomes TRUE from the detection point of an event till
the end of the event duration. Please see the image below.
If only one channel is used as input, the duration of the resulting digital TTL pulse is as long as the
logical state is TRUE. If more than one electrode and “Single Rates” is selected, it is necessary to combine
the logical states of the different electrodes with the functions AND or OR. If AND is selected, a feedback
is generated only if all electrodes have the logical state TRUE at the same time.
If OR is selected, a TTL is generated if any of the electrodes has the logical state TRUE. The length of
the TTL is determined by the overlap (AND) or addition (OR) of the TRUE states of the individual
electrodes.
Please see the following example:
- 21 -
When selecting Overall Rate or one channel only, the logic option “And” or “Or” is not applicable.
In the example shown above, data is high pass filtered at 10 Hz at the DSP before signal detection, and
the filtered data is send to the PC for recording. Four channels are monitored, 23, 33, 24 and 34, for
their individual spike rates (Single Rates). If the Spike count is larger than 5 in a 100 ms moving window
in any of the four electrodes, the logical state becomes TRUE, and a TTL is generated on Bit 8 of the
Digital Channel.
In case of Rate detection, the logical state becomes TRUE from the detection point of the last event
that is needed to fulfil the rate condition till the end of the event duration. If the rate of detected
events stays above the rate threshold, the logical state will remain TRUE as long as the rate condition is
fulfilled. In the example below, a window of 200 ms and a rate of five events per window is set as
condition. The logical state becomes TRUE upon detection of the fifth spike within 200 ms, and stays
TRUE because the event rate remains above threshold.
As shown above the status of the TTL output bit will remain HIGH as long as the logical state, or the
combination of logical states of all selected electrode channels, fulfils the condition defined by the user,
including the AND / OR function.
- 22 -
Additional Examples:
The following examples further illustrate the possible combinations of the Feedback Logic. In example
one, single spikes are detected on two channels combined with the condition OR. Hence, the logical
state of each channel is TRUE from the detection of an event till the end of the event duration (shown
in red). As the two channels are combined with OR, a TTL is generated as long as any of the two
channels, or both, have the logical state TRUE.
In example two, the same channels are combined with the condition AND. This means, a TTL is generated
only if both channels have the logical state TRUE. This setting can be used to detect simultaneous
events. By adjusting the event duration, it is possible to define how close together two events have
to be to trigger a feedback stimulation.
Important: In extreme cases, if the overlap between the TRUE states of all selected channels is very short
(below 20 µs), the generated TTL might be too short to trigger another device.
In example three, spike rates are detected with the condition eight spikes per time window. The two
channels are combined with the condition OR. The logical state of channel one becomes TRUE upon
detection of the eighth event in the time window until the last event that fulfils the condition, plus
the event duration. In channels two, the event rate is too low. As both channels are combined with OR,
the TRUE state of channel one is sufficient to trigger a TTL output.
In example four, the overall event rate of channel one and two is combined and the condition is again
eight events per time window. The addition of both channels results in longer and more TTL outputs.
As the activity of both channels is counted together anyway, the combination parameter AND / OR is not
applicable.
- 23 -
5.2.4 Digital Out
The MEA2100-, ME2100- and W2100-Systems feature an Interface Board with a 16 bit digital output
channel (DigOut). The DigOut channel can generate TTL pulses to control or synchronize external
devices. The function of the DigOut channel can be controlled in the Data Source instrument. It is
possible that several data sources, and hence several instances of the software, share one Interface Board
(see chapter 4.1.4). This means all data sources/software instances have to share the 16 available
DigOut bits. Therefore, one tab in the MEA2100 data source is available to assign the available output bits
to the different data sources, and to the available instruments which might use the DigOut.
5.2.4.1 Digital Out Bit Selection
The Digital Out Bit Selection tab allows to assign each bit of the Digital Out channel to a certain data
source and function. In case of multiple software instances, only the first instance in which the Data
Source instrument is activated allows to edit the bit assignment. All other instances show the assignment,
but only follow passively the settings made in the first instance.
The Digital Out Bit Selection tab is available in two layouts, IFB Outputs and DI/O Box. For most
applications, four Digital Out bits are enough, so four bits Digital Out 1 to 4, are available as Lemo
connectors directly on the Interface Board. If you have this configuration, select IFB outputs, and you
will see only the four available outputs.
Some applications need all 16 bits. In such cases, a DI/O extension box must be connected to the IFB,
which makes all bits available with BNC connectors. If you have such an extension, select DI/O Box to see
all available bits. Be aware that the 16 bits on the DI/O are not in addition to the four IFB inputs, Digital
In 1 - 4 on the IFB are identical to bit 0 - 3 on the DI/O box.
All changes must be downloaded to take effect. The label of a data source is shown on the respective
icon.
- 24 -
After assigning the bits to the different data sources, select the instruments/functions which should
use the respective bit. In a MEA2100-System, three options are available, the Digital Out Generator, the
Stimulators and Real Time Feedback. Each bit can be assigned independently to a different function.
Just like the bit assignment to the different data sources, the functions can only be edited in the first
instance.
The Stimulator 1 - 3 option assigns the respective bit to one of the three internal stimulation units. If the
Marker option is used (see 5.8.3.7), each Marker can generate a TTL on the Digital Out bit selected here.
The Real Time Feedback (see 5.2.3.3) can also be used to control the internal stimulators, but also to
generate an external TTL pulse on the assigned bit(s).
Finally, the Digital Out Generator can be used to program a selected bit to generate any random pattern
of TTL pulses. Again, all changes must be downloaded to take effect.
5.2.4.2 Digital Out Generator
The Digital Out Generator allows to program each bit of the digital out channel to generate a random
pattern of TTL pulses. The Digital Out Generator tab is only active if at least one digital bit has been
assigned to the generator. Only the assigned bits will appear in the tab.
Each bit can be programmed with a random pattern of TTLs. Each bit assigned to the Digital Out
Generator has its own programming interface and WYSWYG display to show the programmed pattern.
- 25 -
The pattern for each bit can be programmed step by step, with value and duration for each step.
Value can only be 1 (HIGH) or 0 (LOW).
Duration can be any time, in multiples of 20 µs, which is the time resolution of the Digital Out
Generator. The time unit can be changed to µs, ms, s or min. Double click on any time unit field and
select the desired unit from the drop down menu.
The Row Repeat allows repeating the contents of a specific row. If the pattern which should be repeated
is longer than one row, it is possible to combine rows to groups, and use the Group Repeat function
instead.
To define a group, hold the SHIFT and CTRL key, and click the cells you want to add one by one. You
can also remove cells from a group by SHIFT/CTRL click.
- 26 -
The Digital Out Generator can be started on different conditions. Stop is always manual. In Manual
mode, Start and Stop are on manual command. Alternatively, the Generator can be started with the Start
of the data acquisition (Dacq), or on an incoming TTL on any of the Digital In bits. Finally, The Real
Time Feedback (see 5.2.3.3) can also be used to start the Digital Out Generator.
By default, the programmed pattern for each bit will be generated once after each Start command. If the
Continuous repeat (∞) tick box is active, the pattern will be repeated indefinitely till the data acquisition
is stopped, or till a manual Stop command.
The settings and paradigm programmed in the Digital Event Generator are also stored in the Experiment
file (see 4.1.2).
- 27 -
5.2.5 Examples: How to …
This section highlights a few common uses of the MEA2100-System Data Source and the Digital Out
Generator.
5.2.5.1 Record Electrode Raw Data, Analog Data and Trigger Events
In the experiment above, the blue electrode data port and the green analog data port are connected
directly to the Recorder. Therefore, both data streams are recorded continuously. Analog channels
1 and 2 are activated, and a 60HDMEA layout is selected for the MEA data with 25 kHz sampling rate
applied to both. Analog data can come for example from a Patch Clamp amplifier or a temperature
sensor. The red digital data port is connected to a Digital Event Detector instrument (please see chapter
5.16, Digital Event Detector), which will generate Trigger events based on TTL inputs to the Digital In
connectors on the Interface Board. The trigger events will also be recorded, as the pink trigger output port
is connected to the Recorder. The digital channel itself will not be recorded, as it is not connected directly
to the Recorder.
- 28 -
5.2.5.2 Generate a Closed Loop Stimulation on Simultaneous Spikes on Two Electrodes
The Real Time Feedback function can detect coincidence of spikes on two or more electrodes. In the
given example, electrodes 22 and 42 are monitored. Data is filtered at 200 Hz high pass to improve spike
detection. Even though the RTF works on the filtered data, unfiltered raw data is send to the computer for
recording. Every time spikes occur simultaneously on both electrodes within a time window of 10 ms, the
feedback condition is fulfilled. The stimulator instrument is programmed to start on the Feedback, and to
deliver a short 100 Hz burst of stimuli to a cluster of four electrodes in the lower right quadrant of the
MEA. If the feedback condition is fulfilled again while the Stimulator is still running, this will be ignored.
Please see chapter 5.8. Stimulators, MEA2100 Stimulator for details on programming of the Stimulator.
Unfiltered raw data and Triggers generated by the stimulation are recorded (please see chapter 5.11,
Recorder).
5.2.5.3 Control a Valve Perfusion System with the Digital Out Generator
In valve controlled perfusion systems, like the VC-8 from Warner Instruments, the valves can often be
controlled by external TTL pulses. Usually, a LOW state on the TTL input of each valve means valve closed,
while a HIGH state means valve open. Assuming that a DI/O box is connected to the MEA2100 Interface
Board, and bits 0 - 7 are connected to the valves 1 - 8, the following setup of the Digital Out Generator
would result in valve 1 being open for 15 min (baseline with medium/ACSF), then valves 2 - 8 for five
minutes each, and then valve 1 again for 15 min for washout.
First, assign eight bits to the data acquisition you want to use, and select Digital Out Generator as
Instrument for all of them. Download the settings.
- 29 -
All Digital Out bits are started simultaneously with the start of the DAQ.
- 30 -
5.3 Data Source: MEA2100-Mini-System
5.3.1 Description and Purpose
The MEA2100-Mini-System is supported in all available headstage variations. One SCU (Signal Collector
Unit) with all attached headstages is always operated independently by one instance of the software. The
icon indicates which SCU it represents. 1 and 2 indicate the SCU connected to port 1 or 2 of the Interface
Board. Once the MEA2100-Mini-System is added to the instrument configuration, the MEA2100-Mini
Stimulator and the SCU Stimulator will also become available as instruments.
5.3.2 Data Ports and Export Options
The MEA2100-Mini-System has three output ports: Electrode Raw Data (blue), Analog Data (green) and
Digital Data (red). As with all data sources, there are no input ports. The MEA2100-Mini-System can be
connected directly with any number of other instruments with blue or red input ports. The green port can
only be connected to the Recorder at the moment. There are no export options.
5.3.3 Operation
The MEA2100-Mini data source control window shows all available data channels for all connected
headstages, and optionally also the additional Analog Input channels from the Interface Board. One
headstage is visible at a time. All headstages are shown with their serial number. Click on the headstage
to see the respective data. This has no influence on recording, all active channels from all active
headstages will be recorded, independently from the display.
- 31 -
The MEA layout, settings for the MEA2100-Mini stimulator and other instruments connected to the data
source also depend on the currently selected headstage. All settings apply only to the selected
headstage, which makes individual changes per headstage possible, and allows the independent
control of the stimulators in each headstage. For example, a filter connected to the MEA2100-Mini
data source can have different filter settings for each headstage. To adjust them, select the respective
headstage and the individual settings will be shown in the filter tool. The same applies to the MEA2100Mini stimulator. The stimulation paradigm can be different for each headstage, changes only apply to the
stimulator of the currently selected headstage.
Individual channels can be toggled by clicking on them. Deactivated channels will neither be displayed
nor recorded. [shift] click or [crtl] click on any electrode will toggle the whole row or column. Hover the
mouse pointer over an electrode channel for a few seconds to bring up the hardware channel ID for
that electrode.
5.3.3.1 Overview Data Display
As soon as more than one headstage is connected, the tab Overview Data Display will appear. On this
display, the data of all connected headstages can be seen in parallel. Channels are labeled with 1 - 4 for
the headstage and the channel number from the selected layout, respectively.
5.3.3.2 Custom Display Layouts
The channel layout of all available MEAs are available from a drop down list. This channel layout will
automatically also be used in all other instruments. At the moment, the use of multiwell MEAs is not
yet fully supported in the MEA2100-Mini-System.
- 32 -
To generate a custom layout for the display, click the Settings icon under the main display. The following
menu will allow to generate any desired electrode grid, and then assign channels to any grid position.
Currently, the Custom Display Layout is only available for the data source. In contrast to the electrode
layouts from the drop down list, a custom display layout is not adopted by the other instruments.
5.3.3.3 Audio Settings
To route individual electrode channels to the Stereo Audio Output on the Interface Board, open the Audio
Settings.
Sound can be either mono or stereo, each electrode channel can be assigned to the two audio channels.
Volume control is also independent. The Audio output will generate an audio signal from the raw data of
the selected channel(s) in real time.
5.3.4 Digital Out
The MEA2100-, ME2100- and W2100-Systems feature an Interface Board with a 16 bit digital output
channel (DigOut). The DigOut channel can generate TTL pulses to control or synchronize external
devices. The function of the DigOut channel can be controlled in the Data Source instrument. It is
possible that several data sources, and hence several instances of the software, share one Interface Board
(see chapter 4.1.4). This means all data sources/software instances have to share the 16 available
DigOut bits. Therefore, one tab in the MEA2100-Mini data source is available to assign the available
output bits to the different data sources, and to the available instruments which might use the DigOut.
- 33 -
5.3.4.1 Digital Out Bit Selection
The Digital Out Bit Selection tab allows to assign each bit of the Digital Out channel to a certain data
source and function. In case of multiple software instances, only the first instance in which the Data
Source instrument is activated allows to edit the bit assignment. All other instances show the assignment,
but only follow passively the settings made in the first instance.
The Digital Out Bit Selection tab is available in two layouts, IFB Outputs and DI/O Box. For most
applications, four Digital Out bits are enough, so four bits Digital Out 1 to 4, are available as Lemo
connectors directly on the Interface Board. If you have this configuration, select IFB Outputs, and you
will see only the four available outputs.
Some applications need all 16 bits. In such cases, a DI/O extension box must be connected to the Interface
Board, which makes all bits available with BNC connectors. If you have such an extension, select DI/O Box
to see all available bits. Be aware that the 16 bits on the DI/O are not in addition to the four IFB inputs,
Digital In 1 - 4 on the Interface Board are identical to bit 0 - 3 on the DI/O box.
All changes must be downloaded to take effect. The label of a data source is shown on the respective
icon. 1 represents the first and 2 the second connected SCU.
After assigning the bits to the different data sources, select the instruments/functions which should
use the respective bit. In a MEA2100-Mini-System three options are available, the Digital Out Generator,
the headstage stimulators and the SCU stimulators. Each bit can be assigned independently to a different
function. Just like the bit assignment to the different data sources, the functions can only be edited in the
first instance.
- 34 -
The HS1 – HS4 Stimulator 1 or 2 option assigns the respective DigOut to one of the internal stimulation
units of each headstage. If the Marker option is used (see 5.8.3.7), each Marker can generate a TTL on
the Digital Out bit selected here. The SCU Stimulator 1 – 4 refers to the four-channel stimulator
integrated into the SCU.
The Digital Out Generator can be used to program a selected bit to generate any random pattern of TTL
pulses. Again, all changes must be downloaded to take effect.
5.3.4.2 Digital Out Generator
The Digital Out Generator allows to program each bit of the digital out channel to generate a random
pattern of TTL pulses. The Digital Out Generator tab is only active if at least one digital bit has been
assigned to the generator. Only the assigned bits will appear in the tab.
Each bit can be programmed with a random pattern of TTLs. Each bit assigned to the Digital Out
Generator has its own programming interface and WYSWYG display to show the programmed pattern.
The pattern for each bit can be programmed step by step, with value and duration for each step.
Value can only be 1 (HIGH) or 0 (LOW).
- 35 -
Duration can be any time, in multiples of 20 µs, which is the time resolution of the Digital Out
Generator. The time unit can be changed to µs, ms, s or min. Double click on any time unit field and
select the desired unit from the drop down menu.
The Row Repeat allows repeating the contents of a specific row. If the pattern which should be repeated
is longer than one row, it is possible to combine rows to groups, and use the Group Repeat function
instead.
To define a group, hold the SHIFT and CTRL key, and click the cells you want to add one by one. You
can also remove cells from a group by SHIFT/CTRL click.
The Digital Out Generator can be started on different conditions. Stop is always manual. In Manual
mode, Start and Stop are on manual command. Alternatively, the Generator can be started with the Start
of the data acquisition (Dacq), or on an incoming TTL on any of the Digital In bits.
- 36 -
By default, the programmed pattern for each bit will be generated once after each Start command. If the
Continuous repeat (∞) tick box is active, the pattern will be repeated indefinitely till the data acquisition
is stopped, or till a manual Stop command.
The settings and paradigm programmed in the Digital Event Generator are also stored in the Experiment
file (see 4.1.2).
- 37 -
5.4 Data Source: ME2100-System
5.4.1 Description and Purpose
The ME2100-System is supported in all available headstage variations. One ME2100-SCU (Signal Collector
Unit) with all attached headstages is always operated independently by one instance of the software. The
icon indicates which headstage it represents. A and B indicate the SCU connected to port 1 or 2 of the
Interface Board. Once the ME2100-System is added to the instrument configuration, the ME2100
Stimulator and the SCU Stimulator will also become available as instruments.
5.4.2 Data Ports and Export Options
The ME2100-System has three output ports: Electrode Raw Data (blue), Analog Data (green) and Digital
Data (red). As with all data sources, there are no input ports. The ME2100-System can be connected
directly with any number of other instruments with blue or red input ports. The green port can only be
connected to the Recorder at the moment. There are no export options.
5.4.3 Operation
The ME2100 data source control window shows all available data channels for all connected
headstages, and optionally also the additional Analog Input channels from the Interface Board. One
headstage is visible at a time. All headstages are shown with their serial number. Click on the headstage
to see the respective data. This has no influence on recording, all active channels from all active
headstages will be recorded, independently from the display.
- 38 -
Settings for the ME2100 stimulator and other instruments connected to the ME2100 data source also
depend on the currently selected headstage. All settings apply only to the selected headstage, which
makes individual changes per headstage possible, and allows the independent control of the
stimulators in each headstage. For example, a filter connected to the ME2100 data source can have
different filter settings for each headstage. To adjust them, select the respective headstage and the
individual settings will show in the filter tool. The same applies to the ME2100 stimulator. The stimulation
paradigm can be different for each headstage, changes only apply to the stimulator of the currently
selected headstage.
Individual channels can be toggled by clicking on them. Deactivated channels will neither be displayed
nor recorded. [shift] click or [crtl] click on any electrode will toggle the whole row or column. Hover the
mouse pointer over an electrode channel for a few seconds to bring up the hardware channel ID for
that electrode.
By default, all channels are shown in linear layout. To adjust the display layout to the electrode layout,
it is possible to create a custom layout.
5.4.3.1 Overview Data Display
As soon as more than one headstage is connected, the tab Overview Data Display will appear. On this
display, the data of all connected headstages can be seen in parallel. Channels are labeled with A - D for
the headstage and the linear channel number.
5.4.3.2 Electrode Layouts and Display Layouts
The channel layout of some commonly used electrodes is available from a drop down list. This electrode
layout will automatically also be used in all other instruments. If you need a layout implemented into
the list, please write to MCS support, and provide the datasheet of the electrode.
To generate a custom layout for the display, click the Settings icon under the main display. The following
menu will allow to generate any desired electrode grid, and then assign channels to any grid position.
- 39 -
Currently, the Custom Display Layout is only available for the data source. In contrast to the electrode
layouts from the drop down list, a custom display layout is not adopted by the other instruments.
5.4.3.3 Reference Electrode
The ME2100 Headstages have a reference input, which can be connected to an external reference
electrode. By default, the reference input is not used. To use the reference, one recording channel must
be sacrificed. Recording channels 8, 16, 24 or 32 can be used to be replaced by the reference input.
If activated, the respective data display shows the data from the reference input instead the selected
channel, but no subtraction happens yet. This allows monitoring the signal on the reference input.
If the subtraction is activated, the Ref input signal gets subtracted from all other channels. This can be set
individually for each headstage, and is indicated by a virtual LED on the lower main bar.
- 40 -
5.4.3.4 Audio Settings
To route individual electrode channels to the Stereo Audio Output on the Interface Board, open the Audio
Settings.
Sound can be either mono or stereo, each electrode channel can be assigned to the two audio channels.
Volume control is also independent. The Audio output will generate an audio signal from the raw data of
the selected channel(s) in real time.
5.4.4 Digital Out
The MEA2100-, ME2100- and W2100-Systems feature an Interface Board with a 16 bit digital output
channel (DigOut). The DigOut channel can generate TTL pulses to control or synchronize external
devices. The function of the DigOut channel can be controlled in the Data Source instrument. It is
possible that several data sources, and hence several instances of the software, share one Interface Board
(see chapter 4.1.4). This means all data sources/software instances have to share the 16 available
DigOut bits. Therefore, one tab in the ME2100 data source is available to assign the available output bits
to the different data sources, and to the available instruments which might use the DigOut.
5.4.4.1 Digital Out Bit Selection
The Digital Out Bit Selection tab allows to assign each bit of the Digital Out channel to a certain data
source and function. In case of multiple software instances, only the first instance in which the Data
Source instrument is activated allows to edit the bit assignment. All other instances show the assignment,
but only follow passively the settings made in the first instance.
The Digital Out Bit Selection tab is available in two layouts, IFB Outputs and DI/O Box. For most
applications, four Digital Out bits are enough, so four bits Digital Out 1 to 4, are available as Lemo
connectors directly on the Interface Board. If you have this configuration, select IFB Outputs, and you
will see only the four available outputs.
- 41 -
Some applications need all 16 bits. In such cases, a DI/O extension box must be connected to the Interface
Board, which makes all bits available with BNC connectors. If you have such an extension, select DI/O Box
to see all available bits. Be aware that the 16 bits on the DI/O are not in addition to the four IFB inputs,
Digital In 1 - 4 on the Interface Board are identical to bit 0 - 3 on the DI/O box.
All changes must be downloaded to take effect. The label of a data source is shown on the respective
icon. A represents the first and B the second connected SCU.
After assigning the bits to the different data sources, select the instruments/functions which should
use the respective bit. In a ME2100-System, three options are available, the Digital Out Generator, the
headstage stimulators and the SCU stimulators. Each bit can be assigned independently to a different
function. Just like the bit assignment to the different data sources, the functions can only be edited in the
first instance.
The HS1 – HS4 Stimulator 1 or 2 option assigns the respective DigOut to one of the internal stimulation
units of each headstage. If the Marker option is used (see 5.8.3.7), each Marker can generate a TTL on
the Digital Out bit selected here. The SCU Stimulator 1 – 4 refers to the four-channel stimulator
integrated into the SCU. The Digital Out Generator can be used to program a selected bit to generate
any random pattern of TTL pulses. Again, all changes must be downloaded to take effect.
- 42 -
5.4.4.2 Digital Out Generator
The Digital Out Generator allows to program each bit of the digital out channel to generate a random
pattern of TTL pulses. The Digital Out Generator tab is only active if at least one digital bit has been
assigned to the generator. Only the assigned bits will appear in the tab.
Each bit can be programmed with a random pattern of TTLs. Each bit assigned to the Digital Out
Generator has its own programming interface and WYSWYG display to show the programmed pattern.
The pattern for each bit can be programmed step by step, with value and duration for each step.
Value can only be 1 (HIGH) or 0 (LOW).
Duration can be any time, in multiples of 20 µs, which is the time resolution of the Digital Out
Generator. The time unit can be changed to µs, ms, s or min. Double click on any time unit field and
select the desired unit from the drop down menu.
The Row Repeat allows repeating the contents of a specific row. If the pattern which should be repeated
is longer than one row, it is possible to combine rows to groups, and use the Group Repeat function
instead.
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To define a group, hold the SHIFT and CTRL key, and click the cells you want to add one by one. You
can also remove cells from a group by SHIFT/CTRL click.
The Digital Out Generator can be started on different conditions. Stop is always manual. In Manual
mode, Start and Stop are on manual command. Alternatively, the Generator can be started with the Start
of the data acquisition (Dacq), or on an incoming TTL on any of the Digital In bits. Finally, the Real
Time Feedback (see 5.2.3.3) can also be used to start the Digital Out Generator.
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By default, the programmed pattern for each bit will be generated once after each Start command. If the
Continuous repeat (∞) tick box is active, the pattern will be repeated indefinitely till the data acquisition
is stopped, or till a manual Stop command.
The settings and paradigm programmed in the Digital Event Generator are also stored in the Experiment
file (see 4.1.2).
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5.5 Data Source: W2100-System
5.5.1 Description and Purpose
The W2100-System is the new generation of MCS wireless recording systems. One receiver is always
operated independently by one instance of the software. Multiple headstages connected to one receiver
are operated by the same instance. 1 or 2 indicate the receiver connected to port 1 or 2 of the Interface
Board. Once the W2100-System is added to the instrument configuration, the W2100 Stimulator will also
become available as instrument. Please also see movie for illustration.
5.5.2 Data Ports and Export Options
The W2100-System has five output ports. Electrode Raw Data (blue), Analog Data (green), Digital Data
(red) are present and active in all headstages. Headstages of the latest generation also have Gyroscope
Data (light brown) and Accelerometer Data (dark brown). The brown ports are always visible, but contain
no data in older headstages. As with all data sources, there are no input ports. The W2100-System can
be connected directly with any number of other instruments with blue or red input ports. The green and
brown ports can only be connected to the Recorder at the moment. There are no export options.
5.5.3 Operation
The W2100-System data source control window shows all available headstages. All channels of all
active headstages can be displayed, and optionally also the additional Analog Input channels from the
Interface Board. The Scan function will screen for available headstages in range, and display them as
icons. The additional functions, Audio, Suspend Mode and Video Synchronization can be toggled.
In Multi Headstage Mode, a drop down menu with all active headstages allows to select the active
headstage to be displayed. This has no influence on recording, all active channels from all active
headstages will be recorded, independently from the display.
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5.5.3.1 Single and Multi Headstage Mode
When hovering the mouse pointer above the W2100-System instrument, a Settings icon appears. This
allows to select Single or Multi Headstage Mode before actually activating the W2100-System data source
by dragging in to the main window.
In Single Headstage Mode, only one headstage per receiver can be used at a time, at full sampling rate.
In Multiple Headstage Mode, up to four headstages can be used per receiver simultaneously, but at
reduced sampling rate. The Sampling Rate drop down menu will adjust the selectable sampling rates
automatically. Different types of headstages can be combined in Multi Headstage Mode. A separate file
will be generated for each headstage. The file name is identical, as defined in the Recorder tool, with the
headstage serial number at the end ([file name][HS serial #]).
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5.5.3.2 Select Headstage
After scanning, all available headstages (HS) are displayed as icons. To select a headstage for recording,
simply click on it. The HS icons contain status information about each headstage. Grey outlined
headstages are inactive (not selected), selected headstages are outlined in blue. Each HS icon displays type
and serial number, and battery status (if active). A bar indicates whether the HS is actively acquiring data
(green), in standby (yellow) or switched off (red). Lost contact to the receiver is indicated by a purple bar.
Headstages with electrical or optical stimulation capability show a flash or light bulb icon, respectively.
The two LEDs (red and blue) on the HS have also individual indicators on the HS icon. Clicking on the
indicator will switch each LED between on, blinking and off. The indicator colors are:
Red LED
Blue LED
Off
grey
grey
ON
red
blue
Blinking
purple
cyan
5.5.3.3 Available Channels
In Single Headstage Mode, all channels of the selected headstage are displayed in linear fashion. In Multi
Headstage Mode, the headstage to be displayed can be selected from a drop down list by serial number.
Individual channels can be toggled by clicking on them. Deactivated channels will neither be displayed nor
recorded.
5.5.3.4 Individual Instrument Settings in Multiple Headstage Mode
In Multiple Headstage Mode, up to four Headstages can be active simultaneously. Only one of those
Headstages is displayed at a time, as selected from a drop down menu by serial number. Settings of
instruments connected to the W2100-System data source, like filters or spike detectors, can be set
individually for each active headstage. Settings in all connected instruments can be different for each
headstage, and will change automatically if the displayed headstage in the Data Acquisition instrument
is changed.
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First headstage selected
Second headstage selected
5.5.3.5 Overview Data Display in Multi Headstage Mode
In Multi Headstage Mode, the tab Overview Data Display will appear. On this display, the data of all
selected headstages can be seen in parallel. Channels are labeled with A-D for the headstage and the
linear channel number.
5.5.3.6 Custom Layouts
To generate a custom layout for the display, click the Settings icon under the main display. The following
menu will allow to generate any desired electrode grid, and then assign channels to any grid position.
The label of the electrodes is the linear channel ID from the headstage connector. Currently, the Custom
Display Layout is only available for the data source.
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5.5.3.7 Audio Settings
To route any electrode channel to the Audio Output on the Interface Board, open the Audio Settings and
select a channel from the drop down list. Volume control is also available. Once activated, the signal from
the selected channel is audible via speakers or headphones connected to the Audio Out on the Interface
Board.
5.5.3.8 Suspend Mode
Suspend Mode allows repeated episodic recordings with low power consumption. Usually, the
headstages are in stand by while selected and ready for recording. In standby, they react quickly on
start commands, but still use relatively much battery power. In suspend mode, the HS is switched off
automatically for a predefined Suspend period in between recordings, to safe battery power. Then it gets
reactivated, and does a recording for as long as defined in the Acquire window. This will be repeated till
stopped manually. The reactivation takes 1 - 2 seconds, so the timing of the Acquire and Suspend times is
only accurate on a seconds scale.
If the suspended mode is combined with electrical or optical stimulation, the stimulation will also be
interrupted during the Suspend time, and continue automatically in the next Acquire phase.
5.5.3.9 Video Synchronization
Activate the Video Synchronization if you want to record a video together with the electrophysiological
data with the Multi Channel VideoControl software. The selected frame rate must be identical to the
frame rate of the video acquisition, which is selected in the VideoControl software.
This needs to be done manually, if Multi Channel Experimenter and VideoControl software are not
connected. If Enable Remote function is active, the Experimenter and the VideoControl software
communicate via a pipe connection. In that case, the Frame Rate control in the Experimenter is inactive
and the Frame rate selected in the VideoControl software will automatically be adjusted. Please see
manual of Multi Channel VideoControl for details.
This works if both programs run on the same PC, but also if they run on different PCs which are in the
same network. To enable a connection, both programs must be running on the respective PC(s).
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By default, the Multi Channel Experimenter software will attempt to connect to a VideoControl instance
running on the same PC (Localhost).
To connect to a different PC in the network, press the "Log" button in the Video Settings of the W2100
Data Source of the Experimenter and select a different Hostname from the drop down list or enter a new
one.
The hostname of a PC is the computer name shown in the Windows Settings / System.
If the connection is established, press "Test" for a quick check. The hostnames with successful
connections are stored by the Experimenter software in its *.ini file and the last connected one will be
used in the next session automatically.
If the connection is established, VideoControl remotely controls the Video Frame Rate setting, the
base file name in the Recorder (see chapter 5.11.3) and whether Video Sync is enabled in the Multi
Channel Experimenter. The Experimenter sends the ID stored in the W2100 data file via this connection to
VideoControl, so that the same ID can be stored in the VideoControl movie file. This ID identifies video
files and recordings belonging together. Make sure the appropriate bits of the Digital Out channel are
assigned to the Video Sync function (see chapter 5.5.5.1).
Known problems with pipe connections in Windows:
The windows firewall might interfere with the pipe connection. The connection uses UDP ports 137 and
139 and TCP port 445 for communication, so if these are blocked a connection to a remote PC might not
work. More detailed info about pipe connections can be found here.
5.5.3.10 Analog Output DAC Range
Receivers with the AO (Analog Out) option have the Analog Output DAC Range as additional setting.
The ±12.4 mV input range of the W2100 headstage can be converted to different output ranges on the
analog output, depending on the input range of the connected 3rd party data acquisition:
AO DAC Range
± 2.5 V
±5V
± 10 V
Conversion factor
0.00496
0.00248
0.00124
Gain setting
201
403
806
The signal on the AO output times the conversion factor, or divided by the Gain setting, is the
actual signal size.
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5.5.4 Gyroscope and Accelerometer Data
Headstages of the latest generation are equipped with sensors for rotation and acceleration, each in
x-y-z-direction. Currently, this data can only be recorded and exported by the Data Manger. These
headstages show a circle arrow icon, and the W2100 data source ports in light brown and dark brown are
usable.
If such a headstage is selected, toggle the display for auxiliary analog channels, which now contains
also tabs for the Accelerometer and Gyroscope data. All three special directions are shown as individual
traces, and can also be toggled individually. Acceleration is shown in g (gravity acceleration, 9.81 m/s2),
rotation in degreed per second (°/s).
Be aware that due to gravity, there is a constant acceleration of 1 g in downward direction. That means,
if the headstage is held still and perfectly horizontal, the Acceleration z value is 1, and x and y are 0. In all
other positions, earth gravity is distributed between all three spatial directions. Any kind of movement
causes fluctuations in acceleration and rotation.
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5.5.5 Digital Out
The MEA2100- and W2100-Systems feature an Interface Board with a 16 bit digital output channel
(DigOut). The DigOut channel can generate TTL pulses to control or synchronize external devices. The
function of the DigOut channel can be controlled in the Data Source instrument. It’s possible that several
data sources, and hence several instances of the software, share one Interface Board (see chapter 4.1.4).
This means all data sources/software instances have to share the 16 available DigOut bits. Therefore,
one tab in the W2100 data source is available to assign the available output bits to the different data
sources, and to the available instruments which might use the DigOut.
5.5.5.1 Digital Out Bit Selection
The Digital Out Bit Selection tab allows to assign each bit of the DigOut channel to a certain data source
and function. In case of multiple software instances, only the first instance in which the Data Source
instrument is activated allows to edit the bit assignment. All other instances show the assignment, but
only follow passively the settings made in the first instance.
The Digital Out Bit Selection tab is available in two layouts, IFB Outputs and DI/O Box. For most
applications, four Digital Out bits are enough, so four bits Digital Out 1 to 4, are available as Lemo
connectors directly on the Interface Board. If you have this configuration, select IFB Outputs, and you will
see only the four available outputs.
Some applications need all 16 bits. In such cases, a DI/O extension box must be connected to the Interface
Board, which makes all bits available with BNC connectors. If you have such an extension, select DI/O Box
to see all available bits. Be aware that the 16 bits on the DI/O are not in addition to the four IFB inputs,
Digital In 1 - 4 on the Interface Board are identical to bit 0 - 3 on the DI/O box.
All changes must be downloaded to take effect. The label of a data source is shown on the respective
icon.
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After assigning the bits to the different data sources, select the instruments/functions which should
use the respective bit. In a W2100-System, three options are available, the Digital Out Generator, the
Stimulators and Real Time Feedback. Each bit can be assigned independently to a different function.
Just like the bit assignment to the different data sources, the functions can only be edited in the first
instance.
In the W2100-System, the digital out can be used in combination with the W2100-Video-System to
record a video file synchronized with the electrophysiological data (see chapter 5.5.3.9). Up to four
cameras can be operated from one IFB. Assign one bit per camera to the Video Sync.
Finally, the Digital Out Generator can be used to program a selected bit to generate any random pattern
of TTL pulses. Again, all changes must be downloaded to take effect.
5.5.5.2 Digital Out Generator
The Digital Out Generator allows to program each bit of the digital out channel to generate a random
pattern of TTL pulses. The Digital Out Generator tab is only active if at least one digital bit has been
assigned to the generator. Only the assigned bits will appear in the tab.
Each bit can be programmed with a random pattern of TTLs. Each bit assigned to the Digital Out
Generator has its own programming interface and WYSWYG display to show the programmed pattern.
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The pattern for each bit can be programmed step by step, with value and duration for each step. Value
can only be 1 (HIGH) or 0 (LOW).
Duration can be any time, in multiples of 20 µs, which is the time resolution of the Digital Out
Generator. The time unit can be changed to µs, ms, s or min. Double click on any time unit field and
select the desired unit from the drop down menu.
The Row Repeat allows repeating the contents of a specific row. If the pattern which should be repeated
is longer than one row, it is possible to combine rows to groups, and use the Group Repeat function
instead.
To define a group, hold the SHIFT and CTRL key, and click the cells you want to add one by one. You
can also remove cells from a group by SHIFT/CTRL click.
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The Digital Out Generator can be started on different conditions. Stop is always manual. In Manual
mode, Start and Stop are on manual command. Alternatively, the Generator can be started with the Start
of the data acquisition (Dacq), or on an incoming TTL on any of the Digital In bits. Finally, The Real
Time Feedback (see 5.2.3.3) can also be used to start the Digital Out Generator.
By default, the programmed pattern for each bit will be generated once after each Start command. If the
Continuous repeat (∞) tick box is active, the pattern will be repeated indefinitely till the data acquisition
is stopped, or till a manual Stop command.
The settings and paradigm programmed in the Digital Event Generator are also stored in the Experiment
file (see 4.1.2).
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5.5.6 Examples: How to …
This section highlights a few common uses of the W2100-System Data Source.
5.5.6.1 Record Five Minutes per Hour Overnight Automatically
To do repeated recordings on a minutes or hours time scale, it is recommended to use the Suspend Mode
to save battery power. Connect the W2100-System data source to the recorder and open the control
window of the W2100-System. Enable suspend mode, and set the Suspend and Acquire times, as well
as the sampling rate. Set the data acquisition to Standby. Once the DAQ is started, the W2100-System
will record for 5 min, and then shut down the HS for 55 min. This will repeat till manually stopped.
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5.5.6.2 Record Four Headstages in Parallel
Before dragging the W2100-System Headstage to the main window, select Multi Headstage Mode with
the Settings Icon (please see chapter 5.5.3.1, Single and Multi Headstage Mode). Scan, and select all four
headstages for recording. The HS with the highest channel count will determine the maximum sampling
rate. Set recording to Standby, and start the DAQ manually. A separate file will be generated for each
headstage. The file name is identical, as defined in the Recorder tool, with the headstage serial number at
the end ([file name][HS serial #]). In this example, unfiltered raw data and spike cutouts will be recorded
for all four headstages.
Only one headstage is displayed at a time, the displayed headstage can be selected from a drop down
menu. Settings for the filter and spike detector, like filter cut off and spike detection levels, can be
selected individually for each headstage, even though there is only one filter and spike detector
instrument. Any changes from the default settings will be applied to the displayed headstage only.
Change the displayed headstage in the W2100-System data source, and the settings in the subsequent
instruments will change accordingly.
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5.5.6.3 Generate a Synchronization Pulse for an External Device
If more than one data acquisition device is used in the same experiment, synchronization of data is always
an issue, as each device runs on its own clock, and time lines will drift apart over time. In this example, the
W2100-System will generate a constant stream of TTL pulses via one Digital Out bit at 1 kHz, which can
be connected to an external device. This TTLs can later be used to synchronize the W2100 data with the
external data, and the TTLs are synced to the internal clock of the W2100-System.
Assign one Digital Out bit to the Digital Out Generator.
Next, program the Digital Out Generator to start on the start of the data acquisition, and repeat the
programmed pulse continuously. Program a TTL pattern with 800 µs LOW an 200 µs HIGH. Depending on
the sampling rate of the external device, it might be necessary to have a longer HIGH phase to make sure
the TTL is detected. Generally, the faster the sampling rate, the shorter the HIGH phase and the faster the
frequency of the synchronization signal is recommended. For slower acquisition systems, a slower
frequency with longer HIGH phases should be used.
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5.6 Data Source: Basic Wireless-System
5.6.1 Description and Purpose
The Basic Wireless-System is the first generation of MCS wireless recording systems. One system is always
operated independently by one instance of the software. Multiple headstages can be operated by one
system, but only one headstage can be active at a time. The icon shows the serial number of the
recording system, and the type of headstage which is currently selected (W8 in the example above).
5.6.2 Data Ports and Export Options
The Basic Wireless-System has two output ports: Electrode Raw Data (blue) and Digital Data (red).
As with all data sources, there are no input ports. The Basic Wireless-System can be connected directly
with any number of other instruments with blue or red input ports. There are no export options.
5.6.3 Operation
The Basic Wireless-System data source needs to be set to one type of headstage (W4, W8, W16
or W32) first. When hovering the mouse pointer above the Basic Wireless instrument, a Settings icon
appears. This allows to select the headstage type before actually activating the Basic Wireless-System
data source by dragging in to the main window.
The Scan function will screen for available headstages in range, and display up to four of them as icons
(A to D). One headstage can be selected for recording at a time. In the control window, all channels of
the active headstage will be displayed. Grey headstages are inactive (not selected), the selected headstage
are outlined in blue. Each headstage icon displays a serial number. A bar indicates whether the headstage
is actively acquiring data (green), in standby (yellow) or switched off (red). Switched Off headstages need
to be turned on again by power cycling or with an IR remote control. The status of the LED on the
headstage and the output power of the transmitters can also be adjusted. Individual channels can be
deactivated, these channels will neither be displayed nor recorded. Deactivation of channels can increase
the available sampling rate.
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5.6.4 Examples: How to …
This section highlights a few common uses of the Basic Wireless-System Data Source.
5.6.4.1 Record with Increased Sampling Rate by Sacrificing Recording Channels
The maximum sampling rate is mostly determined by the number of channels which are actually recorded,
not the number of channels available on the headstage. In this example, the maximum sampling rate of a
W16 is usually 10 kHz. By deactivating half of the channels, this can be increased to 20 kHz. The available
options in the sampling rate drop down menu will adjust automatically based on the number of recorded
channels. Reducing channels will also decrease power consumption.
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5.6.4.2 Record Electrode Data and Time Stamps for Two Different Behavioral Tasks
In some behavioral experiments, animals are trained to perform certain tasks, for example pressing a lever.
To analyze the brain activity in relation to the performed task, it is necessary to have a time stamp in the
file. In this experiment, the animal has the choice between two different levers. Using any one lever will
generate a TTL pulse, which is applied to one of two digital inputs on the Basic Wireless-System device.
The TTL is detected by two Digital Event Detectors, and will show up as time stamp in the data file.
Events and instruments can be given custom labels, to make orientation easier. These labels will also be
saved in the data file. Raw Data and both Trigger data streams are connected to the Recorder, and will
therefore be recorded.
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5.7 Data Source: USB-ME-System
5.7.1 Description and Purpose
The USB-ME-System data acquisition systems come in three versions, with 64, 128 or 256 channels.
Each 64 channels have an individual physical input connector on the device, labeled with A, B, C and D.
Most often, one MEA1060 amplifier or one ME recording system is attached to each input. Consequently,
the Multi Channel Experimenter handles each input as separate data source, which must be opened in
separate instances of the software. The Multi Channel Experimenter can’t control the MEA1060 amplifiers
or the STG stimulators of the 2000, 3000 and 4000 series. MEA-Select and MC_Stimulus II must still be
used for this purpose. The compact USB-ME16 and USB-ME32 in vivo systems are also supported.
5.7.2 Data Ports and Export Options
The USB-ME-System Data Source has three output ports: Electrode Raw Data (blue), Analog Data (green)
and Digital Data (red). The USB-ME16 and USB-ME32 systems have no Analog Data port. As with all data
sources, there are no input ports. The USB-ME-System can be connected directly with any number of
other instruments with blue or red input ports. The green port can only be connected to the Recorder
at the moment. There are no export options.
5.7.3 Operation
The USB-ME-System data acquisition can operate MEA1060 and ME amplifiers (FA and PGA). If you use
a MEA1060 with a standard MEA layout, you can use a MEA layout from a drop down list. If you want to
use the linear channel layout and create a custom layout, set the device channel layout to Linear Layout
before dragging the instrument icon to the main window. The USB-ME16- and USB-ME32-Systems
support only 16 or 32 channel linear layout. When hovering the mouse pointer above the USB-ME-System
instrument, a Settings icon appears. This allows to select Linear Layout or MEA Layout.
The USB-ME-System data source control window shows all available data channels, and optionally also
the additional Analog Input channels. If a standard MEA is used, the respective layout can be selected
from a drop down list, to match the display to the actual electrode configuration.
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Individual channels can be toggled by clicking on them. Deactivated channels will neither be displayed
nor recorded. [shift] click or [crtl] click on any electrode will toggle the whole row or column. Hover
the mouse pointer over an electrode channel for a few seconds to bring up the hardware channel ID
for that electrode.
The required MEA layout, which will define the display layout for the USB-ME-System data source and all
other instruments, can be selected from a drop down list. If a 60-6well MEA is selected, channels of only
one well are displayed at a time, other wells can be selected by mouse click. This does not affect the
recording in any way.
5.7.3.1 Gain Setting
In contrast to the later MCS recording systems, the analog MEA1060 and FA and PGA amplifiers cannot
provide gain and filter setting information to the software. Therefore, the gain for the amplifier connected
to the USB-ME-System data acquisition must be selected manually. Click the Enter button to open the
Amplifier Gain menu. The gain values for the most common amplifiers are listed.
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5.7.3.2 Custom Layouts
To generate a custom layout for the display, click the Settings icon under the main display. The following
menu will allow to generate any desired electrode grid, and then assign channels to any grid position.
The label of the electrodes is defined by the layout selected from the drop down list. To get the linear
hardware channel IDs, select Linear Layout in the Set Layout menu (see above). Currently, the Custom
Display Layout is only available for the data source.
5.7.4 Examples: How to …
This section highlights a few common uses of the USB-ME-System Data Source.
5.7.4.1 Record Electrode Raw Data and Trigger Events
In the experiment above, the blue electrode data port is connected directly to the Recorder. Therefore, the
electrode data recorded continuously. A 60MEA200/30iR layout is selected for the MEA data with 10 kHz
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sampling rate applied. The red digital data port is connected to a Digital Event Detector instrument (please
see chapter 5.16, Digital Event Detector), which will generate Trigger events based on TTL inputs to the
Digital In connectors on USB-ME-System. The trigger events will also be recorded, as the pink trigger
output port is connected to the Recorder. The digital channel itself will not be recorded, as it is not
connected directly to the Recorder.
5.7.4.2 Record Sweeps Triggered by an External Stimulator
External Stimulators can be programmed to generate TTL pulses together with every stimulation pulse.
To record segments of data, so called sweeps, around each stimulation, connect the TTL output of the
stimulator to a digital input of the USB-ME-System data acquisition. In the present example, the TTL is
applied to bit 0 of the digital channel. The Digital Event Detector generates a trigger event on each rising
flank of a TTL on the respective bit. The Sweeps tool uses the raw electrode data from the Data Source
and the event to generate sweeps of -10 ms to 100 ms around each stimulation. Only the events and the
sweeps are recorded, not the continuous raw data.
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5.8 Stimulators: Stimulator of the MEA2100- and ME2100-System
5.8.1 Description and Purpose
The MEA2100 and ME2100 Stimulator instrument controls the three internal stimulation units of the
MEA/ME2100-System. The Stimulator instrument becomes available only after a MEA/ME2100-System
data source has been activated (dragged into the main window). Each instance of the experimenter with
a MEA/ME2100-System has an independent Stimulator. Please also see movie for illustration. Please note,
the MEA2100-60, MEA2100-2x60 and MEA2100-120 headstages have three stimulator units per
MEA. The MEA2100-256 and the MEA2100-Mini headstages have only two stimulator units. The
ME2100 has two stimulator units for each attached headstage.
5.8.2 Data Ports and Export Options
The Stimulator has a pink port to generate trigger events. There are no export options.
5.8.3 Operation
The operation of the stimulators of the MEA2100- and ME2100-Systems are largely identical, hence, they
are described together in this chapter. The differences are shown in the first two subchapters.
5.8.3.1 Operation MEA2100
The three units of the MEA2100 stimulator are color coded in Stimulator 1 green, Stimulator 2 blue
and Stimulator 3 red. The MEA2100-256 and the MEA2100-Mini only have the first two, green and
blue.
Each stimulator has an independent control tab. The programming of a stimulation pattern is achieved by
combining predefined waveforms, so called primitives. Click on a Stimulator unit icon to open the
respective control tab. The stimulator control window will display the electrode layout selected in the data
source. Click on any electrode to toggle it as stimulation electrode for the selected Stimulator unit. One
electrode can only be assigned to one Stimulator unit at a time.
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5.8.3.2 Operation ME2100
The two units of the ME2100 stimulator are color coded in Stimulator 1 green, Stimulator 2 blue. Each
stimulator has an independent control tab. Each connected headstage has two independent stimulator
units. All control functions apply to the stimulator of the headstage currently selected in the ME2100 data
source (see also chapter 5.4.3).
The programming of a stimulation pattern is achieved by combining predefined waveforms, so called
primitives. Click on a Stimulator unit icon to open the respective control tab. The stimulator control
window will display the electrode layout selected in the data source. Click on any electrode to toggle it as
stimulation electrode for the selected Stimulator unit. One electrode can only be assigned to one
Stimulator unit at a time.
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The “External Stimulation” feature is unique to the ME2100 stimulator. If activated, the programmed
stimulation patterns will be applied to the selected channels of the recording electrode attached to the
respective headstage and to the external stimulation output on the side of the ME2100 headstage. If you
want to use the external output only, deselect all recording electrodes. The external stimulation output
allows the connection of one or two external stimulation electrodes. The six-pin socket is protected
against polarity reversal, as the connector can be plugged in either way. The pins for STG 1 and 2 and
GND are physically connected internally.
Please see the pin layout of the connector and the connection scheme below.
5.8.3.3 Start / Stop / Settings
Stimulator units can be started and stopped independently or simultaneously. Similarly, stimulation
electrodes can be cleared for individual units or altogether. In the Settings menu, it’s possible to switch
between current or voltage controlled stimulation.
The Artefact Suppression functions are also toggled here. Blanking disconnects all electrodes for a
short period of time during the stimulation pulse, to reduce stimulation artefacts. Dedicated Stimulation
Electrodes will permanently connect the selected stimulation electrodes to the respective stimulator units,
instead of switching back and forth between recording and stimulation.
This will decrease artefacts even more, but the stimulation electrodes are lost for recoding. With this
function activated, the stimulation electrodes will show an increased noise level and no signals
whatsoever. Finally, under Experiment Strictness the user can decide whether changes in the
stimulation paradigm should be possible while recording data.
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5.8.3.4 Stimulator Control Functions
Each Stimulator unit has independent controls to select a start condition, load/save stimulation patterns
and so on. It is possible to modify the programmed amplitude of all pulses in a pulse pattern by a certain
percentage with a single up down window. Likewise, it is possible to apply a constant offset to the
complete stimulation paradigm.
Stimulation pulses can be applied once, as programmed, or repeated till manually stopped, if the Loop
Stimulus function is active. Once programmed, stimulation paradigms can be saved and reloaded.
Stimulation paradigms are saved as *.xml files. Each Stimulation unit can also generate external Tigger
events, in addition to the internal triggers which are generated with each individual stimulation pulse in
any case. In the data source, digital Out bits can be assigned to each stimulator instrument, you have to
select a different bit for each of the three stimulation units (see 5.2.4.1, Digital Out Bit Selection). The
TTLs will be generated on the Digital Out connectors on the Interface Board or the DI/O box, respectively.
The Start condition for each Stimulation unit can be selected from a drop down menu. Start can be
either on manual command, with start of the Data Acquisition, on an external TTL on the Digital Inputs
on the Interface Board, or controlled by the Real Time Feedback (please see chapter 5.2.3.3, Real Time
Feedback). If Feedback or Digital Input are selected, additional options appear to select the Digital Input
bit, and to set how to handle repeated start commands.
A repeated Start trigger, either external or from the RTF, while a stimulation is running can either:
 stop the current stimulation.
 be ignored.
 restart the stimulation paradigm.
 be used as a Gate. Gate means the Stimulation will be applied as long as the Start Trigger
condition is fulfilled. This can either be as long as an external TTL is HIGH, or as long as the
RTF condition is fulfilled, and the resulting trigger event continues.
All changes in the stimulation paradigm must be downloaded to the MEA/ME2100-System device.
If the Download icon is grey, no changes have been made since the last download.
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5.8.3.5 Defining a Stimulation Paradigm
A stimulation paradigm can be assembled from predefined waveforms, so called Primitives. The
primitives can simply be dragged to the stimulation window. Please also see movie for illustration. To
delete a primitive, drag it to the trash bin. Click on any primitive in the stimulation window to open the
respective controls. There is one display for the selected primitive, and one for the complete stimulation
paradigm. The selected primitive is highlighted in the Stimulation paradigm display and the Stimulation
window, and the respective controls are available.
5.8.3.6 Primitives
The following primitives are available:
Flat Line
A flat line usually defines a break between two stimulation pulses. The controls allow to set a duration
and an offset with an amplitude in mV.
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Sine Wave
A sine wave stimulation can be defined by amplitude and period. A phase shift of 90, 180, 270 or 360°
can also be selected, as well as a number of cycles (repeats) with an inter stimulus interval (ISI). If the
number of cycles is >1, the advanced settings become available. Advanced settings allow to change the
pulse parameters with each cycle. In the example below, there will be ten consecutive sine waves without
ISI, each wave will have an amplitude 200 mV larger than the one before.
Rectangular Pulse
Rectangular pulses are the most commonly used stimulation pattern on MEAs. It’s recommended to use
biphasic, charge balanced pulses with the negative phase first. A rectangular pulse can be defined by
amplitude and duration, independently for both phases. A break between the phases can also be
selected, as well as a number of cycles (repeats) with an inter stimulus interval (ISI). If the number of
cycles is >1, the advanced settings become available. Advanced settings allow to change the pulse
parameters with each cycle. In the example below, there will be three consecutive pulses with 100 ms ISI,
each pulse will have an amplitude 200 mV larger, and a duration 100 µs longer than the one before.
Ramp
A ramp can be defined by amplitude rising and falling flank, and plateau, as well as a number of cycles
(repeats) with an inter stimulus interval (ISI). If the number of cycles is >1, the advanced settings become
available. Advanced settings allow to change the pulse parameters with each cycle. In the example below,
there will be five consecutive ramps with 100 ms ISI, each ramp will have an amplitude 10 mV smaller,
and a plateau 200 µs longer than the one before.
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Custom Waveform
To generate a custom waveform, it’s possible to import an ASCII file, and modify it in terms of
amplitude. If more them one cycle is selected, amplitude steps are also possible. In the example below,
there will be three consecutive repeats of the imported waveform with no ISI, each signal will have an
amplitude 50 % larger than the one before.
To use, for example, a biological signal as stimulation pulse, the signal needs to be converted to ASCII
with a certain format. After that, the ASCII file can be imported to the primitive by clicking the Import
button. The following format is mandatory for the ASCII file:
Voltage Mode
Time stamp Voltage
Time stamp Voltage
Time stamp Voltage
...
OR
Current Mode
Time stamp Current
Time stamp Current
Time stamp Current
…
The unit for the time stamp is μs and for the voltage/current value µV or nA. The units are not part
of the file. Only integers are accepted and commas, tabulators or spaces to separate the time stamp and
the voltage / current value. Remove all possible headers and use a new line for each integer pair.
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Brackets
Brackets are not a waveform, but allow to introduce repeats to parts of the complete stimulation
paradigm. If you drag the bracket icon into the paradigm, it will appear as a separated pair of brackets.
If you drop a primitive on the second bracket, it will appear inside the brackets.
If you drop the primitive on the first bracket, it will appear before the brackets.
Pairs of brackets can be used in series, one after the other, or also as brackets within brackets.
The sequence will be executed by the same rules as a mathematical operation. Click on each pair of
brackets to select the number of cycles for the complete sequence of primitives within the brackets.
Primitive Defaults
Each primitive has certain default values. However, for each primitive, the Set primitive as default
function is available.
This function will temporary set the currently selected parameters as default for a certain primitive type.
This can be useful if a specific pulse is to be used repetitively in a pulse paradigm. For example, if a
rectangular pulse with +/-3 V / 200 µs is required repetitively, drag the rectangular pulse primitive to
the stimulation window as usual. It will open with the standard default values. Change the settings as
needed, and click Set primitive as default. The next rectangular pulse primitive dragged to the stimulation
window will have the selected parameters as default.
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5.8.3.7 Marker and Digital Outputs
Each stimulator will automatically generate triggers for start and stop of each individual pulse on its
trigger output (pink port). In addition, it is possible to add a Marker to the stimulation paradigm, which
can be activated or deactivated individually for each primitive.
The Marker can be used for internal triggering, or to generate external TTL pulses from the Digital Out
ports on the Interface Board. Select the DigOut port bit for any stimulator unit in the data source, you
have to select a different bit for each of the three stimulation units (see 5.2.4.1, Digital Out Bit Selection).
Please note, bit 0 refers to the Lemo connector Digital Out 1 on the IFB, bit 1 to Digital Out 2 and so
on. Bits 4 and up are only accessible if the DI/O extension is used. Select a primitive, by default the Marker
is inactive. Click on the Marker icon to open the Set Marker Signal menu and activate the Marker tick
box. The icon will change to indicate the active Marker.
The Marker by default is generated at the beginning of each primitive. The duration of the Marker and
a positive offset in relation to the beginning of the primitive can be set. The Marker is shown in yellow.
If the Repeat tick box is selected, the Marker will be generated not only at the beginning of the primitive,
but at the beginning of each pulse within the primitive. Duration and Offset settings apply to all markers.
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5.8.4 Trigger Output
The stimulator of the MEA2100- and ME2100-System has a pink data port for trigger events. These
events will be generated automatically, for each stimulator unit of each headstage there are four
events:




Single Pulse Start
Single Pulse Stop
Marker Start
Marker Stop
This means there will be on trigger at the beginning, and one at the end of each pulse, and also at the
beginning and end of each marker. These trigger events can be recorded, and used to control other
instruments, like the Sweeps tool or the Recorder.
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5.9 Stimulators: SCU Stimulator
5.9.1 Description and Purpose
The SCU Stimulator instrument controls the Opto Stim output on the ME2100 and MEA2100-Mini SCU.
The Stimulator instrument becomes available only after a data source has been activated (dragged into
the main window). Each instance of the experimenter controlling one SCU has an independent SCU
Stimulator.
5.9.2 Data Ports and Export Options
The SCU Stimulator has a Trigger data port, which produces Trigger events marking start and stop of the
stimulator and individual pulses. There are no export options.
5.9.3 Operation
The operation of the SCU stimulator is similar to the MEA2100-Mini and ME2100-System stimulator. Four
stimulator units are available for each SCU.
The four units of the SCU stimulator are color coded in Stimulator 9 green, Stimulator 10 blue,
Stimulator 11 red and Stimulator 12 orange. The numbering start with nine as potentially four
ME2100 or four MEA2100-Mini headstages with two stimulators each could be connected to each SCU.
Each stimulator has an independent control tab. The programming of a stimulation pattern is achieved by
combining predefined waveforms, so called primitives. Click on a Stimulator unit icon to open the
respective control tab.
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5.9.3.1 Start / Stop
Stimulator units can be started and stopped independently or simultaneously. Changes in the
stimulation pattern are downloaded automatically if needed.
5.9.3.2 Stimulator Control Functions
Each Stimulator unit has independent controls to select a start condition, load/save stimulation patterns
and so on. It is possible to modify the programmed amplitude of all pulses in a pulse pattern by a certain
percentage with a single up down window. Likewise, it is possible to apply a constant offset to the
complete stimulation paradigm.
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Stimulation pulses can be applied once, as programmed, or repeated till manually stopped, if the Loop
Stimulus function is active. Once programmed, stimulation paradigms can be saved and reloaded.
Stimulation paradigms are saved as *.xml files. Each Stimulation unit can also generate external Tigger
events, in addition to the internal triggers which are generated with each individual stimulation pulse in
any case. In the data source, Digital Out bits can be assigned to each stimulator instrument, you have to
select a different bit for each of the four stimulation units (see 5.4.4.1 Digital Out Bit Selection). The TTLs
will be generated on the Digital Out connectors on the Interface Board or the DI/O box, respectively.
The Start condition for each Stimulation unit can be selected from a drop down menu. Start can be
either on manual command, with start of the Data Acquisition, on an external TTL on the Digital Inputs on
the Interface Board, or controlled by the Real Time Feedback (please see chapter 5.2.3.3, Real Time
Feedback). If Feedback or Digital Input are selected, additional options appear to select the Digital Input
bit, and to set how to handle repeated start commands.
A repeated Start trigger, either external or from the RTF, while a stimulation is running can either:
 stop the current stimulation.
 be ignored.
 restart the stimulation paradigm.
 be used as a Gate. Gate means the Stimulation will be applied as long as the Start Trigger
condition is fulfilled. This can either be as long as an external TTL is HIGH, or as long as the
RTF condition is fulfilled, and the resulting trigger event continues.
All changes in the stimulation paradigm must be downloaded to the MEA/ME2100-System device.
If the Download icon is grey, no changes have been made since the last download.
5.9.3.3 Defining a Stimulation Paradigm
A stimulation paradigm can be assembled from predefined waveforms, so called Primitives. The
primitives can simply be dragged to the stimulation window. Please also see movie for illustration. To
delete a primitive, drag it to the trash bin. Click on any primitive in the stimulation window to open the
respective controls. There is one display for the selected primitive, and one for the complete stimulation
paradigm. The selected primitive is highlighted in the Stimulation paradigm display and the Stimulation
window, and the respective controls are available.
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5.9.3.4 Primitives
The following primitives are available:
Flat Line
A flat line usually defines a break between two stimulation pulses. The controls allow to set a duration
and an offset with an amplitude in mV.
Rectangular Pulse
Positive, rectangular pulses can be used to control external light sources. A rectangular pulse can be
defined by amplitude and duration. A break between the phases can also be selected, as well as a number
of cycles (repeats) with an inter stimulus interval (ISI). If the number of cycles is >1, the advanced
settings become available. Advanced settings allow to change the pulse parameters with each cycle. In the
example below, there will be ten consecutive pulses with 10 ms ISI, each pulse will have an amplitude 100
mV larger, and a duration 2 ms longer than the one before.
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Brackets
Brackets are not a waveform, but allow to introduce repeats to parts of the complete stimulation
paradigm. If you drag the bracket icon into the paradigm, it will appear as a separated pair of brackets.
If you drop a primitive on the second bracket, it will appear inside the brackets.
If you drop the primitive on the first bracket, it will appear before the brackets.
Pairs of brackets can be used in series, one after the other, or also as brackets within brackets.
The sequence will be executed by the same rules as a mathematical operation. Click on each pair of
brackets to select the number of cycles for the complete sequence of primitives within the brackets.
Primitive Defaults
Each primitive has certain default values. However, for each primitive, the Set primitive as default
function is available.
This function will temporary set the currently selected parameters as default for a certain primitive type.
This can be useful if a specific pulse is to be used repetitively in a pulse paradigm. For example, if a
rectangular pulse with +/-3 V / 200 µs is required repetitively, drag the rectangular pulse primitive to
the stimulation window as usual. It will open with the standard default values. Change the settings as
needed, and click Set primitive as default. The next rectangular pulse primitive dragged to the stimulation
window will have the selected parameters as default.
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5.9.3.5 Marker and Digital Outputs
Each stimulator will automatically generate triggers for start and stop of each individual pulse on its
trigger output (pink port). In addition, it is possible to add a Marker to the stimulation paradigm, which
can be activated or deactivated individually for each primitive.
The Marker can be used for internal triggering, or to generate external TTL pulses from the Digital Out
ports on the Interface Board. Select the DigOut port bit for any stimulator unit in the data source, you
have to select a different bit for each of the three stimulation units (see 5.2.4.1, Digital Out Bit Selection).
Please note, bit 0 refers to the Lemo connector Digital Out 1 on the IFB, bit 1 to Digital Out 2 and so
on. Bits 4 and up are only accessible if the DI/O extension is used. Select a primitive, by default the Marker
is inactive. Click on the Marker icon to open the Set Marker Signal menu and activate the Marker tick
box. The icon will change to indicate the active Marker.
The Marker by default is generated at the beginning of each primitive. The duration of the Marker and
a positive offset in relation to the beginning of the primitive can be set. The Marker is shown in yellow.
If the Repeat tick box is selected, the Marker will be generated not only at the beginning of the primitive,
but at the beginning of each pulse within the primitive. Duration and Offset settings apply to all markers.
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5.9.4 Trigger Output
The SCU stimulator has a pink data port for trigger events. These events will be generated automatically,
for each stimulator unit there are four events:




Single Pulse Start
Single Pulse Stop
Marker Start
Marker Stop
This means there will be one trigger at the beginning, and one at the end of each pulse, and also at the
beginning and end of each marker. These trigger events can be recorded, and used to control other
instruments, like the Sweeps tool or the Recorder.
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5.10 Stimulators: Stimulator of the W2100-System
5.10.1 Description and Purpose
The W2100-System Stimulator instrument controls the optical or electrical stimulation outputs of
W2100-System headstages with stimulation capabilities. The Stimulator instrument becomes available
only after a W2100-System data source has been activated (dragged into the main window). Each
instance of the Multi Channel Experimenter with a W2100-System has an independent Stimulator.
5.10.2 Data Ports and Export Options
The Stimulator has a Trigger data ports, which produces Trigger events marking start and stop of the
stimulator and individual pulses. There are no export options.
5.10.3 Operating Multiple Stimulation Headstages
If more than one headstage with stimulation capabilities, either optical or electrical, is selected in Multi
Headstage Mode, the Stimulator tool will display multiple tabs with the respective serial numbers. It is
possible to control each headstage independently.
5.10.4 Start and Stop
The Start and Stop options are identical for optical and electrical stimulation. Each stimulation channel can
be enabled with a tick box. Only enabled channels are active.
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A start delay can be set individually for both channels. This allows a time offset between the two
channels, but also in relation to the start commend. The start command can be Manual, or a TTL pulse
on any selected bit of the Digital In Channel. A manual start command always affects both stimulation
channels, while both channels can be started and stopped on separate TTLs. Either the rising or the falling
flank of the TTL can be used as Start/Stop signal. This allows for example the use of a TTL as a gate
trigger for the stimulation channels, as shown above for Channel 2. An incoming start signal while the
stimulator is still running will be ignored. In Continuous Mode, the programmed pulse is repeated till
manually stopped.
A stimulation paradigm needs to be downloaded before it can be used. Start/Stop is only available while
the data acquisition is running, while Download is only available while it’s stopped. Two virtual LEDs
indicate the activity of the two stimulation channels. Stopping the data acquisition will also stop the
stimulator.
5.10.5 Operation: Electrical Stimulation
If a headstage with electrical stimulation capabilities is selected, the stimulator control window will display
two tabs, Basic and IO-Curve.
5.10.5.1 Basic
In the Basic tab, the stimulation paradigm for the two available stimulation channels can be programmed.
Only rectangular current pulses are available. The default is negative phase first. With the Invert Pulse
tick box, this can be changed to positive/negative. If identical but inverted pulses without time offset are
programmed for both stimulation channels, this results in a bipolar stimulation.
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Amplitude, duration and inter pulse interval can be selected individually for each channel. Furthermore,
a pulse train can be repeated a number of times, with a pause in between. Once programmed, a pulse
paradigm can be Saved/Loaded as *.nsf file.
The programmed stimulation paradigm for both channels is shown in overlay in the stimulation display,
green for Channel 1 and blue for Channel 2. It’s possible to skip the inter pulse interval and pause
between trains at the end of the stimulus paradigm and stop immediately by activating the Stop
immediately after last pulse tick box. Each stimulation channel can be selected to be enabled or
disabled with a second tick box. In Continuous Mode, the programmed pulse is repeated till manually
stopped. A start delay can be set individually for both channels. This allows a time offset between the
two channels, but also in relation to the start command.
A stimulation paradigm needs to be downloaded before it can be used. Start/Stop is only available while
the data acquisition is running, while Download is only available while it’s stopped. The green/blue virtual
LEDs in the Stimulator window and in the lower Main Menu indicate ongoing stimulation on stimulation
channels one and two, respectively.
5.10.5.2 IO-Curve
The IO-Curve is displayed only once, but applied to all enabled channels with the user defined Start
Delay. For the IO-Curve, the highest and lowest value can be selected, and the software automatically
calculates ten steps in between. These ten steps can be applied once, or repeatedly. Different stimulation
amplitudes will be applied either linear, from lowest to highest value, or shuffled. Start, Stop and Repeat
option are identical to the Basic mode.
Again, an IO-Curve needs to be downloaded before it can be used. Start/Stop is only available while the
data acquisition is running, while Download is only available while it’s stopped. The green/blue virtual
LEDs in the Stimulator window and in the lower Main Menu indicate ongoing stimulation on stimulation
channels one and two, respectively.
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5.10.6 Operation: Optical Stimulation
If a headstage with optical stimulation capabilities is selected, the stimulator control window will display
only one tab.
In this tab, the stimulation paradigm for the two available optical stimulation channels can be
programmed. Only rectangular positive current pulses are available. If more than one headstage with
stimulation capabilities is selected in Multi Headstage Mode, it is possible to select a headstage by serial
number. Amplitude, duration and inter pulse interval can be selected individually for each channel.
Furthermore, a pulse train can be repeated a number of times, with a pause in between. Once
programmed, a pulse paradigm can be Saved / Loaded as *.osf file.
The programmed stimulation paradigm for both channels is shown in overlay in the stimulation display,
green for Channel 1 and blue for Channel 2. It’s possible to skip the inter pulse interval and pause
between trains at the end of the stimulus paradigm and stop immediately by activating the Stop
immediately after last pulse tick box. Each stimulation channel can be selected to be enabled or
disabled with a second tick box. In Continuous Mode, the programmed pulse is repeated till manually
stopped. A start delay can be set individually for both channels. This allows a time offset between the
two channels, but also in relation to the start command.
A stimulation paradigm needs to be downloaded before it can be used. Start and Stop is only available
while the data acquisition is running, while Download is only available while it’s stopped. The green or
blue virtual LEDs in the Stimulator window and in the lower Main Menu indicate ongoing stimulation
on stimulation channels one and two, respectively.
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5.10.7 Trigger Output
The stimulator of the W2100-System has a pink data port for trigger events. These events will be
generated automatically, for each enabled stimulation channel of each active headstage there
are four events:




Stimulation Start
Stimulation Stop
Single Pulse Start
Single Pulse Stop
Stimulation in this case is the whole stimulation paradigm, including all repeats, also in continuous
mode. There will be on trigger at the very beginning, and one at the end of a stimulation. Single Pulse
in this case means a pulse train, with all repeats.
There will be on trigger at the beginning, and one at the end of each pulse. The Trigger events
can be recorded, and used to control other instruments, like the Sweeps tool.
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5.11 Recorder
5.11.1 Description and Purpose
The Recorder is essential to record acquired data. Only one recorder can be used in an experiment.
All data streams which are directly connected to the Recorder will be recorded. Data from instruments
not connected to the Recorder will be lost. Please also see movie for illustration.
5.11.2 Data Ports and Export Options
The Recorder has a unique input port which accepts connections from all other ports in unlimited
number. One file is generated containing all connected data streams. There are no direct export options.
5.11.3 Operation
The Recorder is mandatory to record data. The simplest experiment would consist of the Data Source
connected to the Recorder. The default file path is set in the Main Window settings. A file name is
generated from a random file core, and an optional pre and/or postfix. If the same file name is used
repetitively, nothing will be overwritten. Instead, the second, third and so on file with the same name
will additionally be labeled with 0001, 0002…at the end of the file name. A number of files with meta
information, like instrument settings, will be generated with each recording. The actual data is in the
*.msrd file (please see chapter 4.3, File Types). All recorded data streams are listed.
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The Start and Stop condition for recording can be a Manual command, an Event or a Timer. Data can
only be recorded if the Data Acquisition is running. Manual Start or Stop commands are given with the
Recording button in the main window:
If the Start condition is Manual, and the DAQ is running, the recoding will start immediately once the
Recording button is pressed. If the DAQ is stopped, the Recorder will go to Standby till the DAQ is started
Likewise, if the recorder should be started on an Event, the Recording needs to be set to Standby
manually. It will remain so till the Start Event starts recording. If the start condition is Timer, the
recording will start the selected time after giving a manual start command.
Events can be generated by the Digital Event Detector or the Trigger Generator, for example. Both
instruments can be present multiple times in an experiment, and generate multiple options for start
and stop commands.
Stopping the recorder manually can have two effects: if the Start condition is also Manual, the Recorder
will be Off. If the start condition is an Event, it will go to Standby, and wait for the next start command.
Likewise, if a recording is stopped by an Event or a Timer, recording will be Off or in Standby afterwards,
depending on what the Start condition is.
5.11.4 Examples: How to …
This section highlights a few common uses of the Recorder.
5.11.4.1 Record Segments of Electrode Raw Data after each external TTL
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In the experiment above, the blue electrode data port and a pink Trigger port are connected directly to
the Recorder. The red digital data port is connected to a Digital Event Detector instrument (please see
chapter 5.16, Digital Event Detector), which will generate Trigger events based on TTL inputs to the
Digital In connector 1 on the Interface Board. The trigger events will also be recorded, as the pink
trigger output port is connected to the Recorder. The digital channel itself will not be recorded, as it is
not connected directly to the Recorder. The recording is set to Standby. Each TTL applied to the Digital
In 1 of the IFB will generate a Start command for recording. The system will record for 30 s, as the Stop
command is Timer/30 s. After 30 s, the Recording go will go back to Standby and wait for the next Start
command. This will continue till manually interrupted.
5.11.4.2 Use a Gate Trigger to Control Recording
In the experiment above, the blue electrode data port and two pink Trigger ports are connected directly
to the Recorder. The red digital data port is connected to two Digital Event Detector instruments (see
chapter 5.16, Digital Event Detector), which will generate Trigger events based on TTL inputs to the
Digital In connector 1 on the Interface Board. The trigger events will also be recorded, as the pink
trigger output ports are connected to the Recorder. The digital channel itself will not be recorded,
as it is not connected directly to the Recorder. The recording is set to Standby.
Each TTL applied to the Digital In 1 of the IFB will generate a Start command for recording on the rising
flank of the TTL (Digital Event Detector 1), and a Stop command on the falling flank of the same TTL
(Digital Event Detector 2). As an effect, data will be recorded as long as the TTL on the Digital In 1 of
the Interface Board is HIGH. This will continue till manually interrupted.
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5.12 Trigger Generator
5.12.1 Description and Purpose
The Trigger Generator can generate trigger events independently from an external input. This can
be controlled by a timer, or by a manual input. The generated events can be used to control all other
instruments with a trigger input. More than one Trigger Generator can be used in one experiment, and
more than one instrument can be connected to each Trigger Generator.
5.12.2 Data Ports and Export Options
The Trigger Generator has a blue Electrode Raw Data input and a pink Trigger output. The Electrode Raw
Data input is necessary to get a timing signal from the Data Source. Without that input, the instrument
is not functional. There are no direct export options.
5.12.3 Operation
The Trigger Generator has three different options to generate events, Periodic, List based and Manual.
The time base is always the start of the Data Acquisition. A periodic list of events can be generated
continuously, or a predefined number of times, with or without a delay in relation to the DAQ start.
It’s also possible to generate a random list of time stamps at which a trigger should be generated. At the
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example above, events are generated at increasing intervals between 500 ms and 24 h after start of the
DAQ. The third option is to generate events manually on mouse click. One unlabeled trigger is available
(Generate Trigger). Alternatively, eight independent manual buttons are available to generate events,
which will show up with the respective label when opening the data file in the Multi Channel Analyzer.
5.12.4 Examples: How to …
This section highlights a few common uses of the Trigger Generator.
5.12.4.1 Record Segments of Electrode Raw Data automatically overnight
In the experiment above, the blue electrode data port and a pink Trigger port are connected directly to
the Recorder. The Electrode Raw Data port is also connected to a Trigger Generator instrument. Events
will be generated every 2 hours, seven times in total (14 h). Every event will trigger a 10 min recording
period. File names will contain the time of the recording.
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5.12.4.2 Set Manual Marker Events during Recording
In the experiment above, the blue electrode data port and a pink Trigger port are connected directly to
the Recorder. The Electrode Raw Data port is also connected to a Trigger Generator instrument. Recording
of continuous data is controlled manually. Eight labeled events will be generated on every manual mouse
click on the respective button during recording. These events can mark certain time stamps in the file, and
can be used in the Multi Channel Analyzer to navigate the file.
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5.13 Sweeps
5.13.1 Description and Purpose
The Sweeps instrument is supposed to record short segments of data (sweeps) around a trigger event.
More than one Sweeps instrument can be used in one experiment and more than one instrument can be
connected to each Sweeps tool. The Sweeps tool is most often used to record the response to an
electrical or optical stimulation, where the trigger marks the time stamp of stimulation. Please also see
movie for illustration.
5.13.2 Data Ports and Export Options
The Sweeps instrument has a blue Electrode Raw Data input and a pink Trigger input. The Electrode
Raw Data input provides the data, and the trigger is the reference signal to generate the data segment.
Without both inputs, the instrument is not functional. The output is a cyan Sweeps data stream, which
can be connected to a Sweep Analyzer and the Recorder. There are no direct export options.
5.13.3 Operation
The Sweeps tool shows the selected data segment around each trigger event for all channels. The
maximum size of a sweep can be selected in a range from 50 ms before till 1000 ms after the trigger.
The time base (time 0) is always the trigger event. The number of sweeps generated till start of the data
acquisition is counted, optionally also in the status bar.
5.13.4 Examples: How to …
Examples are shown in the Sweeps Analyzer chapter, as both instruments are usually used together.
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5.14 Sweep Analyzer
5.14.1 Description and Purpose
The Sweep Analyzer instrument can analyze the sweep data generated by the Sweeps tool. The Sweep
Analyzer is most often used to analyze the response to an electrical or optical stimulation, where the
trigger marks the time stamp of stimulation.
5.14.2 Data Ports and Export Options
The Sweep Analyzer has a cyan sweep data input and no outputs. The results of the analysis can be
extracted directly as ASCII data.
5.14.3 Operation
The Sweep Analyzer has two tabs, Raw Data and Parameter. The Raw Data window shows the sweeps
coming from the Sweeps instrument, and allows to define a region of interest (ROI) for the analysis.
To define a ROI, click on any channel. The selected channel will show up on the zoom window below,
with the borders of the ROI. Drag the ROI borders to the desired position. This procedure can be repeated
for as each channel individually, or the ROI settings of the selected channel can be applied to all others.
Within the ROI, a number of parameters will be calculated: Minimum, Maximum, Peak to Peak Amplitude,
Time of Min and Max, and Slopes. This data can be displayed in the Parameter tab.
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Select the desired parameter from the drop down menu. It’s possible to switch back and forth between
different parameters online. The parameters are defined as follows:
Max
Min
T max
T min
Peak to Peak Amplitude
Slope
Slope X % to X %
Highest value in ROI.
Lowest value in ROI.
Point of time when maximum occurs, relative to trigger event.
Point of time when minimum occurs, relative to trigger event.
Amplitude, maximum minus minimum.
Slope of linear fit regression line (Least Square Algorithm): A straight line
is fitted through the data points in the region of interest. The slope of the
straight line is then extracted.
The 10 % – 90 % (or 20/80 or 30/70) interval of the peak-peak
amplitude (stretching from minimum to maximum) in the region of
interest is detected. Only data points in this interval are used for the
linear regression fit (Least Square Algorithm). The slope of the resulting
straight line is extracted as the slope.
All analyzed parameters for all channels at once can be exported as ASCII data with the Export All
Results button. Alternatively, one channel can be selected from the main data display. The Export
Selected Channel button will only export the selected parameters for the selected channel. The displayed
parameter is independent from the exported parameters.
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5.14.4 Example: How to do a LTP Experiment with two Stimulation Pathways
This example illustrates the most common use of the Sweeps and Sweep Analyzer instrument, the
recording and analysis of evoked activity. A combination of several instruments, the Stimulator, the
Sweeps instrument and Sweep Analyzer is used. The electrical stimulation applied to a hippocampal slice
by two individual stimulators are marked by individual trigger events, generated by two internal stimulator
units. The evoked responses to stimulation via both stimulator units are detected in independent Sweeps
and instruments, both are recorded as independent data streams. Sweep Analyzer instruments are used to
analyze the evoked responses on-line.
Stimulation pathways S1 and S2 will be operated by the Stimulator units one and two. For each pathway,
raw data is running from the Data Source to the Sweeps tool, and the resulting sweeps are recorded and
analyzed by a Sweep Analyzer. Sweeps of 100 ms duration are triggered by each pulse start from
Stimulator one and two, respectively. The two Sweeps data streams are recorded manually.
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The stimulators are both programmed to start simultaneously with DAQ start, and then deliver alternately
voltage pulse with 1500 mV amplitude every minute, till manually stopped. This would be a common
baseline stimulation paradigm for a LTP experiment.
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5.15 Filter
5.15.1 Description and Purpose
The Filter can apply time based filters with different characteristics to the raw data. More than one Filter
can be used in one experiment, the filters can be used in series or in parallel. Please also see movie for
illustration.
5.15.2 Data Ports and Export Options
The Filter has a blue Electrode Raw Data input and a similar blue Filter Data output. The input data can be
directly from the Data Source, or from another instrument with a blue output, like a Cross-Channel Tool
or another Filter. Likewise, the Filter Data output is compatible with any other blue input port. There are
no direct export options.
5.15.3 Operation
The Filter shows raw data and filtered data for all channels in overlay. Both traces can be toggled with tick
boxes. Different filter characteristics are available, Bessel, Butterworth, Chebyshev and Notch.
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5.15.3.1 Filter Characteristics
A Bessel filter is a type of linear filter with a maximally flat group delay (maximally linear phase response).
Analog Bessel filters are characterized by almost constant group delay across the entire passband, thus
preserving the wave shape of filtered signals in the passband.
The Butterworth filter is designed to have a frequency response which is as flat as mathematically
possible in the passband.
Chebyshev filters are analog or digital filters having a steeper roll-off than Butterworth filters. Chebyshev
filters have the property that they minimize the error between the idealized filter characteristic and the
actual over the range of the filter, but with ripples in the passband. Because of the passband ripple
inherent in Chebyshev filters, filters which have a smoother response in the passband but a more irregular
response in the stopband are preferred for some applications.
A Notch filter is designed to remove a certain frequency, 50 Hz or 60 Hz are available.
5.15.3.2 High Pass
A High Pass filter will remove all frequencies below the Cutoff. For High Pass filters, just select the Order
and the Cutoff frequency from the respective drop down menus.
5.15.3.3 Low Pass
A Low Pass filter will remove all frequencies above the Cutoff. For Low Pass filters, also select the
Order and the Cutoff frequency from the respective drop down menus. Additionally, Downsampling
is available. If Downsampling is active, the sampling rate for the downsampled data will adjust
automatically, based on the Cut Off frequency. The outgoing Filtered Data stream will then have
the lower sampling rate.
5.15.3.4 Band Pass
Band Pass filters remove all frequencies outside the selected frequency band. Fixed Band Pass options
are available. Select Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Theta band from the drop down menu.
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5.15.4 Examples: How to …
This section highlights a few common uses of the Filter.
5.15.4.1 Differentiate Theta Waves and Spike Activity from a Raw Data Signal
In the example above, Theta activity is extracted with a Band Pass filter and recorded as a separate data
stream. A 200 Hz High pass filter is used to facilitate spike detection by a Spike Detector (please see
chapter 5.18, Spike Detector), and the detected spikes are also recorded. In addition, the raw, unfiltered
data is also recorded. Recording of the spikes and filtered data is not strictly necessary, as filtering and
spike detection could also be done offline in the Multi Channel Analyzer as long as the raw data stream
has been recorded.
5.15.4.2 Remove 50 Hz Noise
If problems with 50 Hz noise occur, the best option is to find the source of the noise. However,
if everything else fails, a Notch filter can be used to remove the noise. Periodic noise is very often caused
by other electronic instruments. Europe usually has an AC frequency of 50 Hz, while in the US it is 60 Hz.
Adjust the filter accordingly.
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5.16 Digital Event Detector
5.16.1 Description and Purpose
The Digital Event Detector can generate trigger events upon external inputs, or upon stimulation signals of
the internal Stimulator. The generated events can be used to control all other instruments with a trigger
input. More than one Digital Event Detector can be used in one experiment, and one than one instrument
can be connected to each Digital Event Detector. Please also see movie for illustration.
5.16.2 Data Ports and Export Options
The Digital Event Detector has a red Digital Data input and a pink Trigger output. The Digital Data stream
from the Data Acquisition has 16 bits, each of which can be used to generate trigger events. Without that
input, the instrument is not functional. There are no direct export options.
5.16.3 Operation
The Digital Event Detector monitors the 16 incoming bits of the digital channel. Trigger events can be
generated on the rising or falling flank of an external TTL or an internal sideband signal from the
MEA2100-System Stimulator. Generated events are indicated in a display, and as optical and optionally
also as an acoustical signal.
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Each event can be given a random label, which will show up in the Analyzer and helps with navigating
the file. A Dead Time can be selected, the dead time is the time after each event, during which any
another TRUE condition to evoke an event will be ignored. For example, if the condition to evoke an event
is the rising flank of a TTL on bit 0. Three TTLs come with 100 ms interval, and this train is repeated every
second. The Dead Time is set to 500 ms (see below). An event will be generated only for the first TTL of
each train, as the next two are within the Dead Time after the first.
Several bits can be combined with an AND or OR condition. The default is OR, which means that if any of
selected bits detects a rising or falling flank, an event is generated. In the condition AND, all selected bits
must fulfill the selected condition simultaneously to generate an event.
Event if bit 0 or 1 detects a rising flank or bit 2 or 3 detects a falling flank.
Event only if bit 0 and 1 is HIGH (1) and bit 2 and 3 are LOW (0) simultaneously.
On different data acquisition devices, the digital bits can be addressed in different ways. For all devices,
the Advanced mode is available, which simply lists the available 16 bits from 0 to 15. For the Basic
Wireless-System, the MEA2100- and the W2100-System, there is also the Simple mode, which lists the
bits with the respective function/connector on that instrument.
5.16.3.1 Advanced Mode
In Advanced mode, all 16 bits are listed from 0 to 15. They can be used as described above. On most
devices, four bits are accessible via Lemo connectors. To gain physical access to all bits, it’s necessary
to connect a DIO extension box with 32 BNC connectors, 16 bits for Digital Out and 16 bits Digital In.
5.16.3.2 Simple Mode
The interface of the Simple mode looks different, depending on which data acquisition is in used. For the
USB-ME-System data acquisitions the Simple mode is not available. For the Basic Wireless-System, the
four bits are shown as available on the Receiver (RE) and the Interface Board (IFB).
On the MEA2100, ME2100 and W2100-Systems, the Digital In and Out bits are located on the Interface
Board. Bits 0 to 3 are assigned to the four Digital In connectors on the Interface Board.
Basic W-System
MEA-, ME-, W2100-System
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5.16.4 Events and Bits tab
The Digital Event Detector has an Events and a Bits tab. The Events tab shows only detected events as
markers (see 5.16.3). The Bits tab shows the status HIGH or LOW of all 16 Digital Input bits (0 to 15).
A HIGH on a specific bit is not automatically an event (Trigger).
5.16.5 Examples: How to …
This section highlights a few common uses of the Digital Event Detector. Several examples have already
been shown in the earlier sections.
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5.16.5.1 Record Automatically with a W2100 System as long as a Sensor Detects Movement
In the example above, a motion sensor detects movement in a certain chamber, and generates a gate
trigger which remains high as long as there is movement. The gate trigger is connected to the Digital In 1
on the Interface Board of the W2100-System. An event is generated on the rising flank of the TTL, and
a second event on the falling flank of the same TTL. The first event starts the recorder, the second one
stops it, and recording goes back to Standby. As a consequence, data is only recorded if the animal is in
the chamber, which saves battery power.
5.16.5.2 Record Sweeps Triggered by an External Stimulator
External Stimulators can be programmed to generate TTL pulses together with every stimulation pulse.
To record segments of data, so called sweeps, around each stimulation, connect the TTL output of the
stimulator to a digital input of the USB-ME data acquisition. In the present example, the TTL is applied
to bit 0 of the digital channel. The Digital Event Detector generates a trigger event on each rising flank
of a TTL on the respective bit. The Sweeps tool uses the raw electrode data from the Data Source and the
event to generate sweeps of -10 ms to 100 ms around each stimulation. Only the events and the sweeps
are recorded, not the continuous raw data.
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5.17 Cross-Channel
5.17.1 Description and Purpose
The Cross-Channel instrument can do calculations between data channels, for example to remove
common noise. More than one Cross-Channel can be used in one experiment, and more than one
instrument can be connected to a Cross-Channel data output.
5.17.2 Data Ports and Export Options
The Cross-Channel Instrument has a blue Electrode Raw Data input and a similar blue Cross-Channel Data
output. The input data can be directly from the Data Source, or from another instrument with a blue
output, like a Filter. Likewise, the Cross-Channel Data output is compatible with any other blue input
port. There are no direct export options.
5.17.3 Operation
The Cross-Channel has a tab which shows the input data, and one which shows the processed data.
Different options are available, Simple Reference, Complex Reference, and Pairwise Channel Operation.
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5.17.3.1 Simple Reference
In Simple Reference mode, the signal one selected reference channel is subtracted from all others.
The number of output channels in the Cross-Channel Data output is identical to the number of input
channels.
5.17.3.2 Complex Reference
In Complex Reference mode, the signal of all selected reference channels is averaged, and then
subtracted from all others. The number of output channels in the Cross-Channel Data output is identical
to the number of input channels.
5.17.3.3 Pairwise Channel Operation
In Pairwise Channel Operation mode, pairs of channels can be selected by drawing a line between them,
and a new signal is calculated from the signals of each of these channel pairs.
Channels can be added, or subtracted from each other. Each channel signal can be multiplied with an
individual factor before the operation. The number of output channels in the Cross-Channel Data output
is identical to the number of channel pairs.
The operation can be set individually for each pair of electrodes. The operation for each pair can be
seen when in a tooltip. First select the operation, then connect the electrode pair.
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5.17.4 Examples: How to …
This section highlights a few common uses of the Cross-Channel Tool.
5.17.4.1 Remove Common Artefacts from a Wireless Recording
In the example above, a single electrode, which shows common artefacts as all other channels (breathing,
heartbeat), but no actual signals is selected as Simple Reference. In the processed data, the common noise
is removed. It’s always advisable to record the raw data, too.
5.17.4.2 Do Differential Measurements between Pairs of Electrodes
In the example above, 16 pairs of electrodes are selected out of 32 input channels and subtracted from
each other, to generate 16 differential signals as Cross-Channel Data output.
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5.18 Spike Detector
5.18.1 Description and Purpose
Spike Detector can extract spikes from a raw data stream by different methods, and generate time stamps
and cutouts with spike waveforms. Please also see movie for illustration.
5.18.2 Data Ports and Export Options
The Spike Detector has a blue Electrode Raw Data input and orange Spike Data and yellow Spike
Time Stamps output. The input data can be directly from the Data Source, or from another instrument
with a blue output, like a Filter or a Cross-Channel instrument. There are no direct export options.
5.18.3 Operation
The Spike Detector has a tab which shows the input data and indicates the time stamps, and one which
shows the detected spike cutouts in an overlay plot. Spikes can be detected by different methods,
Threshold, Manual Threshold and Slope. Within each method, the detection threshold of each individual
channel can be manually adjusted. Click on the respective channel to open it in the Zoom window.
Drag the detection threshold to the desired position. The threshold value is shown with an accuracy
of 0.1 µV.
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The spike cutouts are displayed in an overlay plot in the Cutouts tab. The number of simultaneously
shown cutouts can be adjusted. If that number is reached, the earliest detected cutout will be erased
and replaced by a new one.
5.18.3.1 Detection by Manual Threshold
If Manual Threshold is selected from the drop down menu, the user needs to either set the detection
threshold manually for all channels, or apply an identical threshold to all. Threshold values can either be
changed with the updown box, or the threshold can be dragged with the mouse in the Zoom window.
Thresholds can be positive, negative, or both.
5.18.3.2 Detection by Threshold
If Threshold is selected from the drop down menu, the thresholds are calculated individually for each
channel by multiplying a user defined factor with the standard deviation (SD) of the noise of each
specific channel. The SD is calculated from 500 ms of data every time the “Estimate” button is pressed.
The “Estimate for all wells” button become active if a multi well layout is selected. Thresholds can be
positive, negative, or both.
The Threshold detection takes into account small differences in noise level between the channels, and
is usually superior to a manually selected threshold value The SD is strongly depending on the 500 ms
of data used for calculation. If a lot of spiking activity occurs within these 500 ms, the SD will increase,
and also the detection threshold. If possible, hit the Estimate button during a period without activity.
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5.18.3.3 Detection by Slope
Spikes can also be detected using a combination of minimum and maximum slope, and a minimum
amplitude. This method is sometimes more effective in detecting small signals close to the noise, without
risking too many false detections caused by random peaks. Amplitudes can be fixed, or dependent on the
standard deviation of the noise on each channel (see above).
5.18.3.4 Spike Cutouts
The Spike Data stream consist of cutouts, short segments of data around each detection time stamp
which contain the spike waveform. The length of this cutout in relation to the detection time stamp
(Trigger) can be adjusted. The Dead Time is the time after each detection time stamp after which a second
detection event will be ignored. The Dead Time should be as long as the expected signal length, to avoid
double detections.
5.18.4 Examples: How to …
This section highlights a few common uses of the Spike Detector.
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5.18.4.1 Do Long Term Recordings with Spike Data only
The sole purpose of the Spike Detector is to extract spikes from a raw data signal. The instrument works
identical online (Experimenter) or offline (Analyzer). So it is not strictly necessary to record the time
stamps and/or cutouts, as long as the raw data stream is recorded. The exception can be very long
recordings, where raw data files would simply become too large. Then it might be an option to record
just the spikes. The obvious downside is that everything which escapes the detection for some reason is
permanently lost. Using two Spike Detectors with different detection methods is a way to minimize the
risk. In the example above, two Spike Detectors with Threshold and Slope detection method are used
in parallel. Both Spike Cutouts are recorded, but not the raw data. Recording is started manually, and
stopped by a timer after 24 h.
5.18.4.2 Extract Spikes from a Noisy Signal
Usually it’s helps to improve spike detection if the data is filtered before the spike detection. High pass
filters with cutoff frequencies between 100 and 200 Hz are used. If the signal contains low frequency
components, the baseline drifts through the detection threshold and leads to false detections. As
always, it is recommended to record the raw data stream also.
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6 Support and Troubleshooting
The Multi Channel Suite is a software under development, so bugs may occur more frequently than
usual. Also, new software versions are released in short intervals. The software development team of
Multi Channel Systems is very grateful for all reported bugs. Due to the modular nature of the software,
it is impossible to test all possible configurations for each new release, and any customer feedback
is much appreciated to find all problems.
Please report all bugs, feature requests or other issues to Support@multichannelsystems.com.
We can only fix things we know about.
In case of problems, please check first whether your software version is up to date. The latest release
can always be found in the Downloads section of the website. Maybe the problem has already been
solved. If not, reboot the software and power-cycle the recording device.
Sometimes bugs are caused by corrupted experiment (*.mse) files, so the next step is to try building
a new, identical experiment setup, instead of using an existing one.
If the problem persists, report it together with the experiment file which has been used, and possibly
a data file to the support e-mail address. An upload option for the files will be provided if need be.
7 Contact Information
Local retailer
Please see the list of official MCS distributors on the MCS web site.
User forum
The Multi Channel Systems MCS GmbH user forum provides the opportunity for you to exchange your
experience or thoughts with other users worldwide.
Mailing list
If you have subscribed to the newsletter, you will be automatically informed about new software releases,
upcoming events, and other news on the product line. You can subscribe to the newsletter on the contact
form of the MCS web site.
www.multichannelsystems.com
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