Wanted: Source for Complete Computerized Data Acquisition System

Eli Meir meir at zoology.washington.edu
Wed Apr 20 12:11:28 EST 1994

    The nicest software out there for A-D is LabView from National
Instruments.  This will run on either a mac or an ibm-clone, and they
sell data aquisition hardware as well - everything you could possibly
need, I think (I've used the A/D, DMA and multiplexer boards and they
all work well).  Alternatively, you can use LabView with boards from
GW-Instruments, which are cheaper and about equivelant as to
capabilities.  GW also sells software called Superscope which is a
pretty complete data aquisition package, but is not as nice as LabView.
 GW only works on mac's, as far as I know.  I am sure there is plenty
of other stuff for ibm clones, but I've never used an ibm for A/D.
    A third alternative, depending on what you want to do, is to buy
either a National Instruments or a GW Instruments board for the mac and
then use a program I wrote to do the data aquisition.  My program is
called Spike Studio, and is available on several ftp sites
(mac.archive.umich.edu, for instance, look in the /mac/util/science
directory).  This is a complete data aquisition program that has a lot
of analysis features geared towards neurophysiologists.  Depending on
what you want to do with the data once you collect it, the analysis
features might or might not be useful to you.  In any case, it has the
big advantage of being free (though its of commercial quality, since it
used to be a commercial program).
    One last suggestion for analysis is a program called Igor which is
used by quite a few neurobiologists, and does a lot of signal
processing and other analysis.  I think you can also plug your own
modules into it, or do some programming from within it (I haven't used
it, but I know other people like it).  You might also be able to do
some data collection from within it, though I doubt it would be as nice
as any of the above programs.
     Hope that helps,

Eli Meir
Dept of Zoology, Univ of Washington
meir at zoology.washington.edu

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