SCRC Data Capture and Analysis Software
New Features in Capture Software
The biggest new developments in the SCRC Capture and Analysis software
in the past several years have been focused on data capture.
We have added some important new features and capabilities that you may
not be aware of. We present the highlights of these here, starting with
the most recent additions.
Support for stimulator triggering
The 2015 release of the capture software adds support for stimulator triggering
in cap and chanmon. The software can now track the amplitude of a selected
waveform and trigger an output pulse (for stimulation) based on a set threshold
This feature has been developed to replace the use of the "Trigstim" system
(for those whom are familiar with the old system options in the labs at SCRC).
For those who are new to the SCRC software, this feature is essential for the
ability to generate conditional pulses based on on-line data readings.
This feature has been implemented in the networked capture server for National
Instruments devices. This software monitors the captured signals, and delivers
pulses on the DAQ device's digital output which is used to trigger a stimulator.
The NI USB devices are the only supported A/D devices that currently can do
this without excessive lag due to A/D buffering (approx. 5-20 ms).
Recording date/time of start of capture
The 2015 release of the capture software also now records the time at which
data capture started for each run. The start time is recorded and saved in
the run file descriptor. Previously, users had to estimate capture time based
on the file modification time for the frame file or waveform files, but this
was unreliable as the modification time could change after capture, when
filtering waveforms, changing calibration, or making any other changes to a run.
The new version records it more permanently, and it can be displayed by
analysis, frmsel or dumprun. This capture time can be used to refer to entries
in the protocol, e.g. to see what drugs were administered prior to a particular
run of captured data.
See Tutorial 20: Online Protocol Collection using OpenOffice to Increase Efficiency for more information on how
this new feature can be used in conjunction with online protocol notation
to more efficiently and accurately associate events recorded in the protocol
with runs of captured data.
Evolution of "chanmon" into a full-featured signal monitor and recorder
Many improvements were made to chanmon's display capabilities to make it more
flexible and reliable. More importantly, chanmon can now record data while
displaying it, so it can replace the cap program in most cases. You no longer
need to capture blindly.
The intent of many of these changes was to replace many of the aging systems
at the SCRC with a more capable single system that can do it all. Rather than
requiring the use of Axoscope or older systems for monitoring signals while
recording with cap, the new chanmon can do both. Also, just as we've recently
added capabilities to replace our old DOS-based Trigstim systems, we've also
incorporated some of the features of the DOS-based "Camera" systems as well.
We intend to continue enhancing these new capabilities in the future so our
labs are not so reliant on many incompatible and aging or obsolete hardware
Support for new data capture devices and systems
The move to a networked client/server model for the data capture software has
allowed greater flexibility in the types of systems our data capture can
support. With the core of the device-specific capabilities isolated into one
server module, we can more easily adapt that server module to other operating
systems and DAQ devices. Now, rather than being limited to data capture on
Linux systems with the UEI PowerDAQ line of A/D boards, we have added support
for the following DAQ devices and systems:
- NI USB-6210 DAQ device under Linux
- NI USB-6210 DAQ device under Windows with Cygwin/X
- NI PCI-6251 DAQ device under Linux
Although not tested yet, the NI Windows driver should support National
Instruments' full product line of A/D and multifunction DAQ devices under
Windows 7, 8 or 10. The Linux version of our capture server works with the
Comedi driver, which supports DAQ devices from many manufacturers.
As a result, we have many more options available to us for A/D devices we
Where do we go from here?
Please let us know which new directions we should pursue in the development
of our capture software. Do you need support for a new DAQ device? Is there
another device in your lab that you'd like to see replaced with new capabilities
in cap or chanmon? Are we missing important features from Axoscope, Trigstim or
Camera? Let us know what you need.
See also: SCRC Software On-line Documentation,
SCRC Software Tutorials,
Change Log for SCRC beta release,
What's New in beta release