Highlights from “Workshop Scores 9.7, PlexStim v2.3, Free PlexStim Upgrades, and More”
PlexStim™ v2.3 for 64 Stimulation Channels Released Today
PlexStim™ Electrical Stimulation System software version 2.3 offers researchers improved reliability, a better and more convenient power scheme and enhanced electrical isolation over the previous system. Among other advancements, the new release also now enables the individual control of up to 64 independent stimulation channels (via four 16 channel devices) with the use of the new, accompanying PlexStim software development kit (SDK).
PlexStim can generate arbitrary waveform patterns initiated from either the software interface or from externally triggered digital inputs. The graphical user interface (GUI) makes it easy to generate bi-phasic rectangular pulses and bursts of pulses repeated at specific rates. More complicated rectangular waveforms and non-rectangular arbitrary waveforms may be defined in and loaded from a simple text file.
Every stimulation pattern can be started and stopped either manually within the GUI, or with an external digital trigger (TTL). Complex stimulation patterns can be delivered in this way with precise timing based on different triggers. Each channel has a dedicated digital input that may be used in an edge triggered or level triggered (gated) mode to initiate stimulation with microsecond latency. Each channel also has a dedicated digital output signal to third party devices when stimulation is occurring. The actual current and voltage delivered to each electrode can be conveniently monitored on a per-channel basis with stimulation currents defined with 16-bit precision up to ±1mA and delivered with ±10V compliance.
For labs with an existing PlexStim Stimulator, it is important to note that the software version 2.3 requires a FREE firmware upgrade (see the next section for more information.)
PlexStim software v2.3 is available for Windows 7 and can be downloaded from the Software Downloads page under the Support section of the website. Additional documentation supporting v2.3 is found on the Documentation webpage including the revised PlexStim Electrical Stimulator User Guide and PlexStim Electrical Stimulator Data Sheet along with other documents listed in the “New PlexStim SDK” section found here.
NEW PlexStim SDK
To further expand of how researchers are able to leverage PlexStim, Plexon has developed enhanced 32- and 64-bit SDKs for use with C/C++ or MATLAB®, as well as instructions for use with LabVIEW®. The newest SDKs enable the programming of additional channels up to 64 channels (in the presence of the appropriate number of PlexStim devices), and include several new functions. The SDKs are included in the installers and automatically available following the installation of the software.
To support the use of the PlexStim SDKs, Plexon has developed and/or revised the following documents: PlexStim Electrical Stimulator DLL Guide and the PlexStim Electrical Stimulator MATLAB API Definitions.
Did You Know . . . NeuroExplorer® v5 Acquires Continuous Data?
Last year, NeuroExplorer® v5 was launched with heaps of new functionality. To help you become more familiar with some of it, we will discuss a new feature from time to time. One such feature that you might not know is that version 5 of NeuroExplorer now enables the acquisition of continuous data from an OmniPlex® or MAP Neural Data Acquisition System online.
NeuroExplorer v5 has the ability to connect as an online client to Plexon data acquisition systems and acquire continuous data, such as LFP and Auxiliary I/O signals. This new feature adds to the existing capability of gathering spike and event timestamps online. The new continuous data analyses in NeuroExplorer v5 can be run on the data acquired online.
To enable online continuous data acquisition in NeuroExplorer v5, go to the Online->Plexon Online Options menu, and select the “Acquire continuous channels with sampling rate less than or equal to (Hz):” option. By default, the sampling rate value is set to 1000Hz. This is the default sampling rate of LFP signals in and Auxiliary I/O in OmniPlex. It’s possible to set this higher to capture data sampled at higher rates, but there is a data transfer rate limit of 5MB per second, which NeuroExplorer will warn you about, if exceeded. Once this is set, go to Online->Connect to Plexon Server to begin acquisition.