Difference between revisions of "Holcombe:Optacon"

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*In the input window for the pins  
*In the input window for the pins  
**ANIMATE – can visualize how the pins are moving
**ANIMATE – can visualize how the pins are moving
**Switch off animate when running experiment
**Switch off animate when running experiment
*** Can cause lag if it is switched on
*** Can cause lag if it is switched on
**LOOP – will repeat whole sequence including blocks, stimuli – toggle on/off
**LOOP – will repeat whole sequence including blocks, stimuli – toggle on/off

Revision as of 22:03, 12 July 2012


Alex Holcombe
Polly Barr
• Charlie Ludowici
• Kim Ransley
• Ingrid Van Tongeren
William Ngiam
Fahed Jbarah
• Patrick Goodbourn


Skills Checklist
Python Programming
Psychopy/VisionEgg Installation Notes
R analysis,plot,stats
Buttonbox with photocell
Programming Cheat Sheets


Instructions for using the Optacon setup (draft)

Overview of set-up

  • Tower+Monitor uses “Optacon Stimulator” software to provide input to Optacon Interface (the rectangular box with the TRS connectors/jacks).
  • The Optacon Interface uses input from Opticon Stimulator to drive the optacon
  • Powerlab box reads from Optacon Interface
  • Response buttons are connected to the Powerlab box
  • Laptop with Labchart collects the output from Powerlab box (button presses and signal from pins)

Switching on the system

  • Turn on the computers
  • Turn on Powerlab box (switch at back next to grey cord)
  • Turn on Optacon Interface (switch on top of box where it says Power)
  • Optacon should be the last thing you switch on

Switching off the system

  • Optacon should be the first thing you switch off
  • Then switch off the Optacon Interface + Powerlab box
  • Then switch off computers

Input to Optacon interface

  • The tower+monitor provides input to the optacon interface
  • Open Optacon Stimulator
  • Create New or Open
  • Uses .txt files – can make these in excel etc.
  • Array (frames) is the input
  • Dwell time – how long it stays on that frame
  • Pins have fixed vibration rate
    • Single protraction/retraction is 4.35ms for ~230Hz vibration
  • Dwell time specifies how long the pins vibrate in the arrangement of that frame
    • Note: Should take into account 4.35ms “frame duration”
      • e.g. if you put 5ms, It will do 2 protractions/frames, actually taking 8.7ms
  • OR Click on cells to manually change them
  • In array/frames for input: specify number of Blocks and Stimuli
  • Blocks are like the Folder
    • Stimuli are within blocks
  • Can repeat blocks or stimuli independently
  • In the input window for the pins
    • ANIMATE – can visualize how the pins are moving
    • Switch off animate when running experiment
      • Can cause lag if it is switched on
    • LOOP – will repeat whole sequence including blocks, stimuli – toggle on/off

  • First 5 seconds of task should be empty –
    • Might be vibrations due to noise etc, so have first 5 seconds empty to ensure experiment starts off clean
  • Powerlab box
    • Can choose which pins the Powerlab box records from

"Data Collection"

  • Laptop has Labchart on it
    • Uses this for data collection

Starting Labchart:

  • Labchart shortcut is on the desktop
  • When labchart loads it will seach for optacon interface

**If optacon interface is powered off you can still load labchart ***e.g. if you want to look at data **If you want to use it with the optacon interface make sure interface is on first

  • To use settings that have been made for use with optacon:
    • Open a template (e.g ‘example’)
      • Then: File – new – will ask if want to use settings based on other worksheet – click ‘yes’

Testing if everything is connected properly

  • Make a file that shows the button presses and the pins you are interested in recording from
  • Run and check if button presses and pin recordings correspond to the correct channel
    • e.g. Pin input test – test everything is plugged in properly


  • Press START button in the bottom right hand corner to start recording
  • Top 3 channels shows input – i.e. response from pressing buttons
  • Bottom 3 channels records from pins
  • Can toggle MONITOR to the left of start button – it will monitor responses/input but doesn’t record
    • Make sure it is off when you want to collect data
      • Monitor Off / Recording– Not showing red X
      • Monitor On / Not Recording – Showing red X
  • Can also set up new channels to calculate things from the other channels


  • Save raw data as an .adicht file before doing anything
  • Can select data points – ‘save as’ data file

For stats:

  • File – export – labchart txt file
  • Samples at 10k a second – can downsample it for smaller file size - this may reduce precision of optacon pins because they are very fast (so find a suitable sampling rate for your purposes)

Notes for running participants

  • Instruct participants that they do not need to press hard on buttons
    • Feels like it isn’t registering but it is
  • Use scales to measure pressure on fingers
    • Keep this constant over conditions and participants
    • If pressure is too high – will dampen the vibrations – should be gently touching

Misc notes:

  • Pull out blue cord at back of optacon to use the visual input part of the optacon
  • Switch at back – INVERT – black on white or white on black
  • Make sure optacon is not resting on the array – can damage the pins
  • ALWAYS BE CAREFUL – it is a fragile piece of equipment we can’t easily replace

--Elizabeth Nguyen 01:47, 13 July 2012 (EDT)