Category: Hardware

Using NI DAQmx in MATLAB

This post is from Rob Campbell: As part of TENSS [editor’s note: this course is run by great people– highly recommended] we have created a set of examples showing how to use DAQmx in MATLAB without the Data Acquisition Toolbox. This is achieved using Vidrio’s free wrapper, which exposes almost all of the DAQmx API



OpenMV – Fast and easy machine vision

OpenMV is an open source machine vision system. It’s designed to be easy-to-use, with a gentle learning curve. They want this to be the “Arduino of Machine Vision”. The software IDE is free and open. The hardware is available from Sparkfun and other places. Color blob detection, eye and pupil tracking, motion detection, etc. You



Moire lenses

Moiré lenses are cool: two patterned diffractive optical elements are rotated relative to each other to vary the power of the “lens”. Just watch the video (below). Demonstration of focus-tunable diffractive Moiré-lenses Stefan Bernet, Walter Harm, and Monika Ritsch-Marte Vol. 21, Issue 6, pp. 6955-6966 (2013) •https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.21.006955 And their 2008 theoretical work.



PMT power supply

I was cleaning house a bit, and among my old files I found this, which might be worth sharing. Years ago I made a centralized power supply for a custom 2-photon imaging system I built. There were two epi detectors (for red & green fluorescence) and three trans detectors (red, green, and IR-based “DIC-like Dodt”



Driving a green laser pointer with MicroManager

Reminder: green laser pointers have a ton of IR in them. It needs to be filtered out if you don’t want it. See this old (2011!) Labrigger post. I.e., Paul and Kurt are right (see above). The absurd amount of power you measure out of a “green” laser pointer is not because it is recklessly



Pixy computer vision for tracking mouse behavior

Pixy is an open source computer vision system. Mostafa Nashaat, Robert Sachdev, and colleagues including Matthew Larkum have developed software for use with the Pixy, that can be used to track mouse behavior, including free movement around an enclosure (top image), or track the movement of individual whiskers (bottom image), all at 50 Hz. Here’s



Intan CLAMP Patch Clamp Amplifier Systems

Multiple people have asked for a discussion of Intan CLAMP patch clamp amplifiers. For those who are unfamiliar with them, they’re miniaturized patch clamp amplifiers. What looks like a headstage, is actually an entire amplifier. So that cable out the back of the “headstage” is actually a digital signal, and thus less susceptible to noise.



The breadboard you didn’t know you wanted

It’s a microcontroller built into a breadboard. Actually, TWO microcontrollers. Both are Arduino-compatible. ATmega16U2 and ATmega328P. It comes in both black, white, and pink because style matters. P.S. The bottom side is filled with Lego connectors. We love Legos, but we bet we’ll never use that feature. Still, it can’t hurt.



ReSpeaker – Funded, still-available kickstarter for adding voice control to your project

In an earlier post, we discussed how surprisingly useful well designed voice control can be. There are open source software solutions for voice control, but they aren’t integrated with hardware, and there wasn’t really a kit to help one get started. Now there is. Here’s an open source kit for adding voice control to whatever



SpikeGadgets extracellular recording and open source software

SpikeGadgets makes hardware and software for extracellular array recording. They make nice looking hardware, both for recording from arrays, and for controlling experiments. They sell a few accessories as well, including this commutator. Their software is open source. MATLAB and Python code is also part of the project. The company’s run by Mattias Karlsson (worked



Uniqb – construction system

Tibbo, whose microcontrollers were just mentioned here, also sells a construction system called Uniqb. It’s a bit like MakerBeam (it and another system, OpenBeam, are available on Amazon). Store Blog



Tibbo Project System – modular microcontroller

Tibbo makes modular microcontrollers, with plug-in modules for I/O ports (e.g. DB9), relays, sensors, digitizers, etc. They have different sizes, the largest of which is available as a Linux version.



Sanworks’ open source behavior devices and pulse generator

Sanworks has a whole series of devices for behavior experiments. Everything is open source and well documented. You can also pay them to assemble the devices if you choose. They have also created a pulse generator called the PulsePal, and Arduino Due-powered device offering 2 trigger channels and 4 output channels (minimum pulse width 100



3D printed fly holder

Peter Weir has a nice write up and directions on how to make the fly holder from his recent paper. He has some other useful notes that are worth checking out too: github, blog, web page. Hat tip to John Tuthill (link)



Open source pipetting robot – aBioBot

aBioBot is an open source liquid handling (i.e., pipetting) robot platform with integrated machine vision. The system can deal with multiple tube types, and detect if a tip falls off. It also has an extensive web-based protocol authoring and monitoring software package.