by Howard Marron and Giles Peng


Biologists need tools to measure the responses of living systems. In some cases, the
desired responses must be stimulated out of the system by first sending some signal into the
system and then recording the output. Current data acquisition systems made for this type of
biological experiment are costly even for a low end product. To alleviate this need, Howard
Marron and Giles Peng have designed a low cost integrated hardware/software data acquisition
system. For capturing and measuring the responses, we created an oscilloscope, and for the
stimulation, we created a stimulator. We combined software, hardware, and a 16-bit sound card
to synthesize the end result which we have called “SimpleScope”.
The oscilloscope side of the system required a high impedance amplifier to boost the
signal and a hardware component to calibrate the signal voltage as read by the software. The
stimulator required two control channels to enable output isolation: an amplitude channel and a
timing channel. The software GUI was modeled after Bruce Land’s StimScope interface. The
initial intended users were neurobiologists, specifically, a neurobiology laboratory class. But the
low cost of the system makes it also ideal for high school biology classes to utilize.

Full Report in PDF format (For reasons I don't understand, you may need to save this file, then view it locally).