Physiological Experiments Grass Recorder Transistor based 1970s Combined amplifier, processor and Recorder in the one unit
Physiological Experiments Biopac Transistor & IC based 1990s Amplifiers feeding into an ADC and processor. Outputted as data files to a PC for processing and display
Physiological Experiments Stress-O-Meter Silicon Chip IC based Dumb hardware given intelligence by a program running on a PC. Analysis and results display using Excel or SPSS
Rat Experiments Control Panel (1960s) Transistors and logic blocks
Rat Experiments Control Panel (1970s) Transistors and ICs
Rat Experiments Serial Interface (1980s) Provides computer control of experiment. Serial interface was used as it provided signals both to and from the computer. The computer was either a PDP 11 or PC
Rat Experiments Activity box (current). Signals are sent to and from the box using a digital I/O card, available in kit form
Rat Experiments Sniffy the Rat Computer simulation used to model rat behaviour.
Hardware to Software Jpeg images are now displayed on computer screen and reaction times are measured directly from a press of a key on the computer keyboard, or via a push button box and interface to the PC parallel port Cardmaster Used for displaying images for a short amount of time
Hardware to Software Now all timing is done by computer programs Chronoscope -Displayed reaction times Timer -Turned apparatus on/off for a specified time
Hardware to Software Now a sequence of images, rotated by 1 degree or so. These are sequentially displayed on the computer screen Spinning Disks
Hardware to Software Now done using CRT displays. Limitation is screen refresh rate. 10mS is the minimum Tachistoscope Displayed images for very small amounts of time
Hardware to Software Now easily done on the PC Muller-Lyer Apparatus Wooden frame with pulleys and cords. The illusion is presented on white cards
Hardware to Software Now, using a sound card on a PC, not only can the reaction time be measured, but also the subjects response can be recorded Voice Operated Relay Used to measure reaction times by the subject speaking
Stress O Meter Printer Data Port 8 bit Digital to Analog Convertor (DAC) 10 mS Time Constant GSR electrodes Difference Amplifier 10 mS Time Constant Games Port 8 bit Analog to Digital Convertor 5 Volts 100K 5 Volts Charge Resistor
Voice Operated Relay
Staffing 1990 Professional Officer-Technical coordination, PDP11 operations Technical Officer- Animal house, Audio Visual, Presentation Graphics Technical Officer- Electronics and Computing Technical Officer- Electronics and Mechanical
Staffing present CSO-Technical coordination, Computer programming, Computer Support Senior TO -Audio Visual, Presentation Graphics Computer Support Technical Officer- Computer Support (Part time)
How do we survive? We outsource some of our Computer support and any electronic/mechanical construction. No electronic design has been needed in the last four years. We either buy ready made products or build up interfaces from kits. All of us are capable of carrying out trivial tasks such as soldering, cable manufacture, etc.
Future Trends Behavioural Genetics Brain function mapping Web based programs
Ongoing Technical Support in Psychology Large Animal Houses will always need technicians/lab assistants. Experiment generator programs cant do everything. And of course, there remains the need for someone to arrange outsourcing both for new projects and breakdowns, or even changing the laser printer toner cartridge.
Future Trends Less requirement for manual trades. Greater need for computer training Greater need for understanding the discipline Greater need for interpersonal and team skills More interesting and varied work