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The DS8000 represents a quantum leap in the performance of the research stimulator, and is the most advanced stimulator on the market. With a built-in computer, the entire waveform is generated digitally with precision timing. The DS8000 can generate stimulating wave patterns of a complexity unmatched by any other instrument on the market. A built in digital oscilloscope allows the user to preview waveforms on the LCD. An Ethernet connection allows the user to transfer custom waveforms and upgrade the software using TCP/IP protocol via remote access.
Outputs, Inputs, and Waveforms
The DS8000 has 8 analog outputs, 8 TTL outputs and 8 combined analog or TTL outputs. Each combined output can be comprised of a combination of any of 1 to 8 channels. Eight independent internal timers and eight independent external triggers are offered. The built-in waveforms include unipolar, bipolar, and paired pulse, as well as step, sine, ramp and custom. An external trigger, internal analog channel, internal TTL channel, or any of the eight built-in timers can be assigned to control each output channel. A unique feature of the DS8000 is the capability to stimulate with a waveform that is identical or similar to real biopotential wave patterns associated with ECG, EEG or action potentials. A biopotential waveform captured by a data acquisition system may be transferred to an Excel spreadsheet for editing or modification, then loaded into to the DS8000.
Single Board Computer
Although it may be argued that some functions of the DS8000 can be implemented on a standard PC, it is important to recognize that the inherent design of a PC operating system makes the accurate delivery of precision pulse protocols impossible. Despite the fact that PCs are very economical, they are simply not designed to generate highly accurate timing because the microprocessor resources are not prioritized for this function. In addition, analog waveform generation is not readily available without adding expensive output boards and the required programming is non-standard. The DS8000 platform is based on a powerful single board computer that is fully dedicated to the temporal accuracy and precision required in current biological and neurological research. Indeed, the DS8000 Digital Stimulator offers all of these solutions plus Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) compliance for research traceability.Paired Pulse Protocol
The DS8000’s Paired Pulse function allows the user to generate triggered paired pulses (including refractory period) from a single channel without the use of a train function. WPI’s paired pulse algorithm simplifies the arduous repetitive task normally associated with manual resetting of interpulse intervals in refractory studies. Auto-increment eliminates the need to overlap train functions from multiple channels to generate a complete protocol. Thus, there is a significant reduction in setup time and a minimization of the potential for human error during interactive protocol modification.
Fig. 1-Channel Settings
Fig. 1 shows Channel 1 configured in the TRIGGERED PAIRED PULSE mode. In this example, a dual pulse event occurs synchronously with each trigger pulse from Channel 8, which is set to trigger every 300ms. The initial interpulse interval is set to 20 ms. Subsequent interpulse intervals are automatically incremented by 35 ms for each three consecutive paired pulse events. The resulting paired pulse is displayed in the lower trace on the DS8000 scope (Fig. 2). The upper trace shows the master trigger pulse set up on Channel 8.
Soft Keys and GUI Interfacce
Fig. 2-Scope Display
The DS8000 employs “soft keys”, which are programmable controls widely used in several menu options to sequentially change the numerical value of any variable waveform parameter. The DS8000’s soft keys are easily recognized as single or double “+” and “-“ signs located adjacent to a parameter value box (Fig.1). Soft keys provide quick and easy access to modify parameter values on the fly during an experiment. The GUI interface (Fig.3) enables the user to assign the incremental value of the soft key to suit the needs of the experiment. Alternatively, a pop-up numeric keypad is accessible for each parameter to program a precise value that is not a multiple of the softkey-preset increment.
Combined Channel Assignments Matrices
Fig. 3-Graphic User Interface
The CTTL (COMBINED TTL matrix) and CA (COMBINED ANALOG matrix) screens permit the assignment of any combination of the 8 available TTL or Analog signals to any permutation of the respective (8) CTTL or (8) CA BNC outputs. The setup in Fig. 4 indicates that all TTL channels are assigned to their respective CTTL outputs with the exception of the output of CTTL 1, which is assigned a combination of the TTL signals from channels 4 and 5. Changing assignments is as easy as checking the associated box. The CA tab reveals an identical matrix for programming the COMBINED ANALOG BNC outputs.
Fig. 4-Combined TTL Matrix
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