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The Making of StimTracker

12.06.08 | Permalink | 2 Comments

Curious ChapMy company recently released StimTracker, a device designed specifically for sending event markers, something that researchers often need to do when using a stimulus presentation package such as our own SuperLab in combination with an EEG/ERP data recording device.

Sounds simple, but the design of StimTracker’s front panel went through more than 30 iterations before we settled on the final design. Here are six of these intermediate designs, in chronological order.

First Cut: Analog

StimTracker handles seven analog inputs that need to have their sensitivity or threshold adjusted. The original design called for the use of linear potentiometers. “Mediator” was the project name used until a final name was chosen.

StimTracker 1 Then Came Digital

It didn’t take long before we realized that digital was not only nicer, but absolutely needed for one simple reason: repeatability. With linear pots, if someone accidentally changed the settings (not difficult when you have seven of them), it would take a stroke of luck to reposition the pot exactly where it was. Digital control relieves researchers of one less variable to deal with.

StimTracker 2 StimTracker 3 All Blue

In the next two designs, the red was dropped and the march towards minimalism started. Also, the StimTracker name was adopted.

StimTracker 4 StimTracker 5 Maximum Minimalism

In this design, we explored the use of icons but decided against it. We also “minimalized” the design even further.

StimTracker 6

Filed under Cedrus, Design


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