MC_Rack API

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MC_Rack API

Post  mcs on Fri Jun 13, 2008 2:51 am

I'd like to find out about the feasibility of an MC_Rack API. Currently, I know of no way of interfacing with MC_Rack programatically. Specifically, I'd like to retrieve the current timestamp from MC_Rack as it's running and to save in another application (for synchronization purposes).

A more general API, however, that would allow both program control (starting and stopping recording, etc.) and data retrieval (like a GetTimestamp call) would be a huge boon for integrating MC_Rack with other systems.

Any info about this would be greatly appreciated.

mcs

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Re: MC_Rack API

Post  mcs on Fri Jun 13, 2008 2:51 am

Dear Abernat,

You are right, there is no direct API in MC_Rack. However we have multiple options to generate timestamps or synchronize processes.

A spike cutout of 0 duration will result in a timestamp in ASCII format. The STG series stimulus generator can be used to send out trigger pulses to start recordings or mark trigger events in the file.

We would be glad to assist you solving this problem, if you tell us a bit more, what processes you like to synchronize.

Thomas

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Re: MC_Rack API

Post  mcs on Fri Jun 13, 2008 2:51 am

The most immediate use is to place timestamps in a video. We're recording the animal on the maze on DVD-R. We need a timestamp from MC_Rack so that we can overlay that in realtime to the video as it's recording. We have a character generator that will accept an ASCII string from the computer and overlay it onto the video, so we need the timestamp from MC_Rack for that. The goal is to be able to re-watch the video later and coordinate the time in the video with the time in the recording.

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Re: MC_Rack API

Post  mcs on Fri Jun 13, 2008 2:52 am

If you device is able to accept ASCII, I would generate the timestamp with a Spike detector tool. With cutout set to 0 you will generate just the timestamp. You can record the datastream "Spikes" separately and convert it into ASCII using MC_Data tool.
To generate trigger events I suggest to send a pulse from STG to an analogue channel.

Things get easier and a bit more smart, if your video system can accept any kind of trigger-in signals.

Thomas

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Re: MC_Rack API

Post  mcs on Fri Jun 13, 2008 2:52 am

>If you device is able to accept ASCII, I would generate the
>timestamp with a Spike detector tool. With cutout set to 0
>you will generate just the timestamp. You can record the
>datastream "Spikes" separately and convert it into ASCII
>using MC_Data tool.

But can you do this during recording? Considering it uses MC_Data, it sounds like it's run after the fact, but we need to generate the timestamps realtime.

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Re: MC_Rack API

Post  mcs on Fri Jun 13, 2008 2:52 am

DearAberant,

Windows is never relly realtime - any complaints about this please to Bill Gates ;-)

If you require a realtime synchronization, please use the STG (20us time precision) to send a triiger signal to both devices.

Thomas

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