Talkers and the TIB

Spike2 together with a 1401 interface can sample waveform and timing pulse data from a wide variety of equipment. However, some types of measurement devices do not have such convenient outputs. Often the data they generate needs some computer processing to convert it into a useful format.

A Talker device interface is a program that allows us to take data streams from arbitrary devices in real time and add them into the Spike2 data file as if they were being sampled by the 1401. You can view the data from the device in the same way that you can view data sampled by the 1401 interface, with the same convenient viewing modes and data processing tools. The Talker device interface usually runs on the same machine as Spike2, but it can also run on a different computer, communicating with Spike2 via Ethernet. Multiple devices can be served by several Talkers.

Spike2 with Talker

The Spike2 end of the Talker handles the user interface to the data streams available from the device and can also save and restore device settings. It also deals with any time drift between different pieces of equipment, ensuring that the device data stays in sync with the 1401 data. The Talker device interface handles the connection between the computer and the device and tells Spike2 about the data streams that can be sampled.

Talkers already available

CED has already written a number of Talkers for commonly-used equipment. The Talkers that are currently available are:

ANTTalk Interfaces to any of the many devices using the ANT+ profile. These include wireless devices for the collection of heart rate, muscle oxygen and temperature.
TIBTalk Interfaces to a CED Talker Interface Box (TIB). A TIB connects to I2C or SPI bus sensors converting data to a format required by the TIBTalk Talker software. Further details are below.
MouseTalk This interfaces to a PC mouse. Supplied as an example, MouseTalk will capture XY positional data as a RealMark channel. Each data point contains two values.
MKeys This interfaces to a remote keyboard and logs keyboard input to an additional marker channel.
XKeys This interfaces to a remote keyboard and records key strokes to channel 31, the native keyboard marker channel in a data file.
The following Talkers are chargeable:

PolTalk This interfaces to the Polhemus position/motion sensing systems, about 6 types of which are available
DelsysTalk This interfaces to the Trigno telemetry system manufactured by Delsys, which wirelessly collects EMG signals plus acceleration or position data.
DSITalk This interfaces to a number of data acquisition systems supplied and supported by Data Sciences Inc., most of which use short range telemetry to collect various types of data (EKG, EMG, respiration, BP) from untethered animals.
Base unit

Delsys Trigno base

We expect to produce more Talkers in the future so please feel free to enquire about support for your device.

Talker software development kit

The talker software development support includes the complete Talker interface documentation plus support libraries and example Talker programs written in C++ and can be freely downloaded from here. If you have some experience writing software or have access to a programmer, you can use the kit to write a talker that handles your equipment. Of course, CED's software support team will be happy to help you do this. If you have written your own talker and would like to share it with other users, contact CED.

Custom-written Talkers

Alternatively, CED can write a Talker for you. This work would be charged-for, and we would need to borrow your equipment for a period of at least a month so we could test the Talker software. Contact CED to find out more about this.

The Talker Interface Box ('TIB')

The Talker Interface Box (TIB) acts as an interface between Spike2 and sensors that use an SPI or I2C interface. A TIB connects to the computer via a USB interface and is controlled by the TIBTalk program, which provides the Talker interface to Spike2. The TIB can be precisely time synchronised with a 1401 with a special cable connected to the rear panel of the 1401, or can free run, using the standard Talker time correction feature.

The initial TIB design interfaces to an InvenSense MPU9250 or MPU9150 9-axis position sensor which provides X, Y and Z accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer readings. The data sampling rate, accelerometer and gyroscope sensitivities, and low-pass filter settings are configurable from Spike2; the settings are preserved between sampling sessions. Spike2 records the sensor data as three 'real marker' channels. The three channels hold the acceleration, gyroscope and magnetometer data. Each channel holds 3 data values per point (the X, Y and Z axis measurements).

CED expects to extend the range of devices that can be supported by the TIB, and we are willing to do such customisation work on behalf of users; contact CED for more details.

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CED, through this site, does two things that relate to privacy. We would like to explain them.

Emails from down-loads

We offer free down-loads of many files on our site, from test programs to complete install files for updated versions of major packages like Spike2 and Signal.

When customers wish to take a down-load of a major package, we ask a few questions, including their name, email address, the serial number of the software for which they seek an upgrade and whether they would like an automatic email whenever we update the product. This information is emailed back to CED when they access the final down-load screen. Within this email, your browser transmits the type and version of browser you are using, and the screen resolution you are running.

The reasons why we take and keep this information are that it is useful for our software development team to know who has taken the latest versions, and it is useful for our web site development team to know which browsers people are using to view our site, and what resolution they have their screens set to.


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