Multi-Subject Data Collection System
Typical setting for a UFI MSDCS System
In 2000, UFI was approached by a prominent American university that wanted to instrument a multimedia evaluation auditorium for psycho-physiological research. In response, we designed a subject signal-conditioner package based on our Simple Scope™ platform. As the initial physiological measures, we included beat-by-beat heart rate, taken from an infrared pulse plethysmograph (PPG), and skin conductance. We later added precision-rectified electromyography (EMG) for instrumenting small facial muscles.
As part of the project, UFI designed a multi-subject data and power network, including a central data collection controller. This device compiled the data from all the individual subject packages into a single data set.
The data collection controller sends successive data sets by cable to a PC in the control room at high speed. UFI Simple Software running on the PC supervises data plotting and saving, as well as printing and clipboard access.
In 2006, another university asked UFI to design an MSDCS system for its research. They required more than two channels, but wanted a channel configuration that was flexible enough to support a number of different research protocols.
The resulting MSDCS 4 packages are designed to be attached to subjects' seatbacks. The researcher can connect up to eight channels of physiological signal conditioning to each subject. Each subject's MSDCS package is linked by USB cable to a central PC, where data collection, plotting and saving is managed by MSDCS 4 software.
MSDCS 4 features
- Supports up to 8 channels of signal conditioning
- Signal conditioning is supplied by removable plug-in modules
- Supported signals include ECG, IBI/HR, EGG, raw or contour-follower EMG, EOG with DC frequency response, EEG, respiration, finger/skin PPG, PTT, skin conductance, temperature and more
- Typical parallel sample rates are up to 500 Hz (slower rates are also provided)
- LCDs on each subject package can show data from each channel
- Standard USB links all network nodes
The MSDCS 5 system was commissioned by a military research facility in 2010, and shipped the following year. This system supplies 2 channels of signal conditioning (ECG/IBI and Respiration) for up to 6 tether-connected divers. Robust subject isolation and under-water use were crucial design aspects for this system.