MacNews Category Review: Mac software for data acquisition and control
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MacNews Category Review: Mac software for data acquisition and control

imageThis MacNews Category Review looks at Mac OS X software for data acquisition. Products include ABGateway, Absorbance Extension, ADInstruments, Atmoscular, Biopac Student Lab, BrainVoyager QX, CardioVision Digital Systems, DAQ Plot, DataStudio, HOBOware Software, InfoScribe, IngredixX, Java MultiMeter and Kmax.

Richard Gray of the Center for Learning and Memory, Section of Neurobiology, The University of Texas at Austin, told Macsimum News that they use [url=]Igor Pro[/url] (shown) to control []Instrutech ITC-18 ADC/DAC boxes[/url], []Axograph X[/url] for controlling and collecting data from neurophysiology amplifiers, and a "cheap" ADC from [url=]LabJack[/url] and DaqPlot software from [url=]VVI[/url] for chart-recorder-style longterm recordings.

"Also, the Apple SciTech mailing list has had a lot of discussions about the status of NIDAQ software and boards from National Instruments that might be useful for this discussion," he says. "Apple's changes in PCI flavors has been a problem for us. We used to use desktop G4s for all our data-collecting needs, but got all-new G5s in 2004 when we started the Center for Learning and Memory. We had to wait for new controller boards when Apple switched from 5V PCI cards to the newer 3.3V versions. Now, the newest G5s use PCI-express, and neither Instrutech nor Photometrics (we use high-speed CCD cameras from Photometrics/Roper Scientific) make PCI-express cards so far. We've had to search for used or refurb G5s that have PCI-X since we can't use PCI-express."

Other data acquisition and control we've found are:


[url=]ABGateway[/url] can connect to Allen-Bradley PLC5 and SLC500 PLC's (industrial controllers). Connections can be via a serial interface, Ethernet via pyramid integrator or via a control logix gateway. Values can be read from or written to any table table in the PLC. You can use AppleScript to read data table values into programs such as Excel.

Absorbance Extension

[url=]Absorbance Extension[/url] is a Chart extension that allows you to convert spectrophotometer outputs from transmittance to absorbance. The relationship between transmittance and absorbance is non-linear and the Absorbance extension performs a conversion between the two, generating a linear result.


[url=]ADInstruments[/url] is real time chart recording and storage oscilloscope software for life science research and education. Used in conjunction with PowerLab hardware, it provides a data recording and analysis system. ADInstruments' Charts component lets you use your Mac as a multichannel chart recorder, while its Scope component lets you use your computer as a two-channel storage oscilloscope. PowerLab systems provide a data recording solution that purportedly doesn't require programing. Data is recorded, displayed, analyzed and saved to disk in real time. You can transfer numerical data to post analysis programs or transfer graphical data directly to reports.

ADI also makes a: Metabolic Module that analyzes exercise physiology data recorded with the ML240 Metabolic System; a Spike Histogram that analyzes extra-cellularly recorded neural spike activity; an Amplitude Histogram Extension that determines the amplitude distribution of a signal; DMT Normalization Module that provides a method for the calculation of optimal pretension conditions for microvascular or any small tubular tissue; a Chart extension that allows Chart for Mac files to be saved and exported as MATLAB compatible files; and a Chart extension which allows you to save Chart data files as QuickTime movies.


[url=]Atmoscular[/url] is a standard atmosphere calculator.

Biopac Student Lab

The [url=]Biopac Student Lab[/url] system includes the hardware and software to conduct life science student practical lessons. Measurements of ECG, EEG, EMG and EOG, pulmonary function, gas analysis, reaction time, nerve conduction, and other topics are presented. The hardware has four input channels and one output channel. The system can also be customized for other measurements and also makes a useful research tool.

BrainVoyager QX

[url=]BrainVoyager[/url] is a software package for the analysis and visualization of the structure and function of the human brain. It allows neuroscientists and medical professionals to create rotatable 3D models of the working brain from MRI, CT and PET scans. BrainVoyager provides open file formats and scriptable programming interfaces. It allows you to co-register images from multiple modalities and to align brains of different subjects. The visualization capabilities include volume and surface rendering using OpenGL allowing "3D flights" through the brain. Reconstructed polygon meshes can be morphed to produce "flat maps" of the cortex with superimposed color-coded functional data. Reconstructions of heads and brains can be "sliced" in real-time to explore any portion of the brain.

CardioVison Digital Systems

The [url=]CardioVision Digital System[/url] from Argentina performs angiography image capture. At the same time it performs complex digital procedures for medical advantage. Its filter management lets you perform diagnostics.

DAQ Plot

[url=]DAQ Plot[/url] lets you plot up to four electrical signals from a DAQ device hooked to your computer's USB connector or other connectors. You can use the screw connectors to attach sensor wires and watch the signals graph in real time. Voltage is displayed in a real-time strip chart fashion. Voltage time series can be saved, retrieved and appended, exported to spreadsheet applications or other applications and exported to a full-featured graph layout application. DAQ Plot also includes feedback control loop parameters and a command line tool to automate DAQ functions.


[url=]DataStudio[/url] enables students that use the Mac to take advantage of PASCO’s standards-based science solutions, which combine sensors, interfaces and software to help students develop an understanding of science concepts. DataStudio can be used to acquire data from any of PASCO's ScienceWorkshop interfaces and sensors, Xplorer hand-held datalogger or PASPORT family of sensors. Students can acquire data, display the results in a variety of ways and analyze the results.

HOBOware Software

[url=]HOBOWare Software[/url] which provides launch and readout, as well as plotting for the HOBO U12 Family data loggers (e.g. probes, sensors). Data can be exported for more extensive analysis with other programs such as spreadsheets.


[url=]InfoScribe[/url] provides data management for scientific instrumentation. InfoScribe Director (IS-Director) is designed for data collection, organization, visualization, and messaging among multiple sources and subscribers of data. InfoScribe gateway is a tool that provides applications with bidirectional communication to InfoScribe Portal, InfoScribe Director and InfoScribe Server. nfoScribe Portal (IS-Portal) is uniquely designed for data collection, organization, and visualization from a single source/connection of data.


[url=]IngredixX[/url] is a simple database for laboratories that allows you to file your measurements, track projects and case data.

Java MultiMeter

[url=]Java MultiMeter[/url] is Java multimeter control software for RS-232 units.


[url=]Kmax[/url] is a data acquisition and instrument control environment w/advanced features for data management, visualization, and reporting. It supports single- and dual-parameter data displays, CAMAC, GPIB, VME and VXI instrumentation, event-by-event data acquisition and on-line and off-line analysis.

Next week: part two.

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