News Column

Study Results from University of South Carolina Update Understanding of Neuroscience

May 26, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Pain & Central Nervous System Week -- Researchers detail new data in Neuroscience. According to news reporting from Columbia, South Carolina, by NewsRx journalists, research stated, "Many neuroscience experiments rely on presenting stimuli and measuring participants' responses to these events. Often computer screens, speakers and keyboards are sufficient."

The news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from the University of South Carolina, "However, these devices are not appropriate for some situations. For example, some studies present tactile or olfactory stimuli or brain stimulation. Likewise, keyboard buttons are not appropriate for use with vocal responses, small animals or individuals with motor impairments. New method: We describe StimSync, which simulates USB keyboard inputs, allowing use with most experimental software. StimSync can measure button presses, optical signals from magnetic resonance imaging systems, changes in ambient light (e.g. synchronizing intracranial electrography), and auditory events (a voice key). In addition to the USB keyboard mode (necessarily millisecond precision), StimSync can also be set to provide higher precision timing. This feature can be used to validate timing, ensuring event synchronization (e.g. auditory events, visual events, brain stimulation). In addition to recording inputs, StimSync provides seven digital outputs for controlling external devices. Finally, StimSync can record analog inputs; we illustrate how this can be used to evaluate the rise time for computer displays. We observed outputs with a mean latency of 2.1 ms (sd = 0.17 ms) and USB inputs with a mean latency of 2 ms (sd = 0.54 ms). Comparison with existing method(s): StimSync statistically outperforms two professional solutions and numerically outperforms other devices described in the literature. StimSync ( provides an open-source solution for controlling and validating neuroscience experiments."

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: "In addition to sharing the design, we have produced a batch of devices to demonstrate the market for professional implementations."

For more information on this research see: StimSync: Open-source hardware for behavioral and MRI experiments. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 2014;227():90-99. Journal of Neuroscience Methods can be contacted at: Elsevier Science Bv, PO Box 211, 1000 Ae Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Elsevier -; Journal of Neuroscience Methods -

Our news journalists report that additional information may be obtained by contacting C. Rorden, University of South Carolina, McCausland Center Brain Imaging, Columbia, SC, United States (see also Neuroscience).

Keywords for this news article include: Columbia, Neuroscience, United States, South Carolina, North and Central America

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Source: Pain & Central Nervous System Week

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