Spinal Cord Research Centre
Data Capture and Analysis Software
Our data capture and analysis software is now available
for Pentium-based PCs running the QNX operating system.
It offers all the same features as the software on Masscomp/Concurrent
systems, plus a lot more.
- Lower system cost:
a complete Pentium-based data capture and analysis system can be put together
for under $15,000 Canadian (plus taxes).
This includes the $7000 license fee for our software,
$1500 for the QNX licenses,
$2500 for the A/D converter and device driver,
and almost $4000 for the computer.
- Higher performance:
a 133 MHz PCI-bus Pentium system can sustain captures of 16 channels at
20,000 KHz, storing all data to disk.
This is over twice the throughput of a Concurrent 7100, and over five
times what a Masscomp/Concurrent 5450 can do.
Analysis is also much faster.
- Industry-standard technology:
because your system will be based on an industry-standard Intel Pentium PC,
upgrades will be easily affordable and available.
- Easier setup:
a new channel monitor program lets you preview the signals, as well as
signal levels, on all the channels you've chosen for capture.
This can be a big help when setting amplifier gains before capturing.
- More flexibility:
your QNX system will come with the X Window system.
You can run several applications at once and quickly switch between them.
your PC can be configured as a dual-boot system.
When not capturing or analysing under QNX, you can reboot into Windows 95
to run other applications.
Your PC does not need to sit idle when not capturing or analysing data -
it is a fully functional PC which you can use to run your favorite software.
QNX can write files to your Windows 95 partition, so you can transfer all
the plot files you produce during your analysis, then bring up Windows 95
and import the plot files into any program that supports HPGL files
While analysing under QNX, you can also plot out directly to a PostScript
or LaserJet-compatible laser printer, or an HP pen plotter.
About our software
Our software package includes several programs to aid in the capture and
analysis of electrophysiological data.
Unlike many data capture and
analysis systems, these programs are specifically designed to
meet the needs of neuroscience laboratories.
the calibrate program allows you to collect calibration information for the
signals you capture,
and display data using real-world units and names of your choice.
This also enables the software to
compensate for voltage changes introduced by amplifiers and
filters that condition a signal before capture.
The chanmon program allows you to monitor signal levels on all channels
prior to data capture,
to check for over- and under-range signals.
the cap program lets you set all the capture parameters (sampling rate, number of channels, run length, etc.), then handles the collection of "runs" of
data from the A/D converter.
The cap program can collect data on any channel as continuous waveforms,
as triggered sweeps, or both.
Parameters for data capture can be saved for quick reuse,
in a menu and function key system.
The cavg program can collect triggered sweeps and average them in real-time.
Pre- and post-trigger capture is supported in both cap and cavg.
the analysis program can perform over 50 basic types of analysis of the
captured data, including examining raw data, averaging triggered sweeps
sorted according to a number of criteria, obtaining triggered
sweeps from continuous waveforms using a trigger of your choice & averaging
these sweeps, a host of action-potential frequency analyses,
action-potential cross-correlations and auto-correlations,
burst duration and start/stop time analyses,
and a number of X-Y plots of signal level.
Many analyses break data down into cycles, to facilitate analysis of rhythmic
events such as locomotion.
Averages and correlations can be calculated with respect to either the
amplitude of another waveform (e.g. membrane potential) or the time from the
occurrence of an event (e.g. the end of flexor activity).
Averaged sweeps can be stored as a "run" for later use by analysis or
by any of the other programs in the package.
All parameters for analysis can also be saved for later reuse.
The analysis program can also perform
high- or low-pass filtering,
and/or full-wave rectification of continuous waveforms, and
the qm program is used to obtain quick voltage and time measurements from
Cursors can be placed on the sweeps to compare timing of events from different
- Many more:
the frmsel program allows frames of data (triggered sweeps) to be previewed,
and selected or deleted, or "tagged" into various categories.
the raster program can produce 3-D "waterfall" plots of triggered sweeps;
the peel program performs exponential peeling on the decay of a pulse;
the isopot program produces isopotential contour maps from a matrix of
voltage measurements; and the layout program allows you to put together
final figures from plot files produced by the other programs.
There are also several other programs geared to management of run files
and printer/plotter support.
Yes, our software is year 2000 compliant.
We strongly recommend the following system configuration:
Pentium PC, 100 MHz or faster, Intel HX motherboard with 512K cache, PCI bus,
low-noise power supply,
32 MB RAM, 1 GB EIDE or SCSI disk (minimum, 3-4 GB recommended),
EIDE-ATAPI or SCSI CD-ROM drive, 3.5 inch 1.44MB floppy drive,
Logitech MouseMan 3-button serial or PS/2 mouse,
ATI Graphics Xpression Mach 64 video card with GX-C chipset and 2 MB DRAM
(or more) for PCI bus,
17 inch monitor (or larger) capable of at least 1024x768 at 70 Hz non-interlaced,
Novell NE2000 (or compatible) network card,
United Electronics Industries WIN-30D A/D board.
More recent Mach 64 cards (non-GX chipset) will also work, but require a
slightly different configuration and manually adjusting refresh rates.
S3 Trio64V+ based cards have also been used successfully, but require
more tweaking to get acceptable refresh rates.
We've found 17 inch ViewSonic monitors to be a very good value.
If you want a SCSI controller, we advise you to get an Adaptec 2940 AU
PCI bus SCSI controller.
We also recommend a mid-tower case if you plan to add extra disk drives or
other SCSI devices.
Make sure the motherboard can accomodate a full-length ISA card (the A/D board).
We recommend ordering Windows 95 with the system, as well as getting
QNX version 4.23A or 4.24 with TCP/IP and X Window runtime system.
What Is QNX?
QNX is a POSIX certified, Unix-like, real-time operating system for PCs.
It is what allows our PC-based data capture and analysis system to achieve
the high performance and quick response it needs.
QNX was developed by QNX Software Systems Ltd., a company with 16 years of
experience in real-time operating systems.
Three separate modules are required to support our software:
the QNX 4.23A or 4.24 operating system, QNX TCP/IP 4.23A or 4.24 runtime,
and the QNX X Window System 5.0 or 5.1 runtime.
We can install the operating system for you, and supplement it
with a number of software upgrades and freeware utilities.
We offer several options for putting a complete system together.
Tell us what sort of systems you want us to put together for you,
and we'll quote you a price.
- Pre-configured system:
You can order the components for your system and have them shipped to us.
We will put together the system, install the operating system and all
We can even install Windows 95 on the same system if you want.
We will send you detailed specifications of the hardware and system software
you need to order, and recommend suppliers.
We will notify you when we receive your equipment.
Once the system is complete and tested, we'll ship it to you.
- Pre-configured hard disk:
We can install the operating system and all required software on a 3.2 GB
hard disk (EIDE or SCSI), and send it to you.
You would be responsible for installing the disk as the primary hard disk
in your PC, but all system software configuration can be handled by us.
For this option as well, we will send you detailed specifications of the
hardware you need to order.
Only the hard disk and operating system need to be shipped to us - you
get the rest directly and put it together yourself.
This option requires that you adhere to our system specifications, to
- On-site installation:
We can send someone to you to install the operating system and all required
software on your PC, at your site.
Any custom configurations can be handled in this way.
We'll make sure that the system is configured to your specifications, and
thoroughly test it on site.
You will be charged for airfare and expenses for one person, for the duration
of the installation.
- Do-It-Yourself installation:
If you want to tackle the entire installation yourself, we are currently
selling an installation kit which will aid in completing the installation.
You will be responsible for purchasing all hardware and operating system
software, putting the system together, and installing the three required
You will also need to configure the CD-ROM drive under QNX, so you can
install the QNX X Window System and the installation kit we provide,
and you'll need to configure the X Window System for operation with your
The installation kit consists of a single CD-ROM disc,
containing QNX software upgrades and freeware utilities,
as well as the pre-compiled software for data capture and analysis,
and installation instructions.
- Additional analysis workstation:
For a license fee of $500 per system, you can use our software
on additional PCs to set up analysis-only workstations.
The data capture portion of the software will not be functional on these
systems, but everything else is included.
Analysis-only workstations can be set up to run under either the QNX or Linux
Additional QNX systems can be set up as any of the above system options.
Who to contact
For further information, or to request a quotation, please contact us
at the address, phone or FAX number, or e-mail address below:
Spinal Cord Research Centre
University of Manitoba
730 William Ave., BMSB 436
Winnipeg, MB R3E 3J7 Canada
A/D Converter Board
The A/D board to order is the "WIN-30D A/D board, 12-bit, 16-channel", for
$1250 US* plus taxes, from
United Electronics Industries, Inc.
10 Dexter Ave.
Watertown, MA 02172 USA
Ph.: 617-924-1155, FAX: 617-924-1441,
* from a 1996 price list.
In Canada, this board is available from
bbd Electronics, Inc.
6685-1 Millcreek Dr.
Mississauga, ON L5N 5M5 Canada
Ph.: 800-387-8356, FAX: 905-821-4541,
A/D Device Driver for QNX
The QNX device driver for the A/D board is "WIN-30 API for QNX - 32 bit version",
for $395 US* plus taxes, from
Real Time Integration
1200 Broadway, Suite 3
Chesterton, IN 46304 USA
Ph.: 219-929-1936, FAX: 219-929-1518,
* from a 1997 quotation.
QNX Operating System Components
You need the following three packages to make up a complete QNX environment
to run our software:
all of which can be ordered with or without printed manuals.
For your nearest reseller, contact
- QNX 4.23A or 4.24 operating system
- QNX TCP/IP 4.23A or 4.24 runtime
- QNX X Window System 5.0 or 5.1 runtime
QNX Software Systems Ltd.
The reseller we usually deal with locally is
175 Terence Matthews Crescent
Kanata, ON K2M 1W8 Canada
Ph.: 613-591-0931, FAX: 613-591-3579,
Tellier Electronics Limited
1388 Spruce Street
Winnipeg, MB R3E 2V7 Canada
Ph.: 204-774-1741, FAX: 204-783-3185,
SCRC Home Page
SCRC WWW administrator:
Last updated October 28, 1998.
Copyright © The University of Manitoba, Spinal Cord Research Centre.