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650A: Real-Time Muscle Data Acquisition and Analysis Software

The 650A software was designed to enable physiology researchers to study the dynamic mechanical characteristics of muscle tissue. The software seamlessly integrates with all Aurora hardware products including: 315C/322C high-speed length controllers, 400A force transducers, 700A stimulators, 800 series apparatus and 900 series sarcomere length and calcium fluorescence systems. The 650A software can also be used with other manufacturer’s instruments. A unique feature of the software is its force and sarcomere length control capability. This unique control mode can generate critically damped step changes in force or sarcomere length in as little as 1.0 millisecond.

The software has an easy-to-use graphical user interface and is written using the C programming language. The software collects high-resolution length and force data while controlling the length and force of the muscle tissue under test. Collected data can then be plotted and analyzed within the program. The 650A software also includes a real-time scrolling display of the current length and force. This scrolling display can be frozen at any time and then up to four hours of data can be reviewed.

The 650A software is a real-time program, meaning it can act as the master timer for entire muscle physiology experiments. This ensures that data acquisition and control tasks can be done with a timing accuracy of better than 10µs (regardless of what other programs and processes are being run on the computer at the same time). This is not the case with other operating systems such as Windows or Apple.

650A software includes a powerful protocol editor which allows the researcher to easily control and acquire data during the simplest experiments or the most complicated ones. The included sequencer allows multiple protocols to be easily chained together with powerful timing controls creating automated experiments. Automation ensures the experiment is run correctly every time, freeing up lab personnel to perform analysis while the experiment is running.

  • complete data acquisition, control and analysis system
  • flexible data acquisition with sampling rates from 1 Hz to 20 kHz
  • provides force control using software proportional-derivative control algorithm
  • provides SL control using software proportional-derivative control algorithm (requires VSL or HVSL sarcomere length system for SL measurement)
  • controls all Aurora Scientific lever systems, force transducers, stimulators and apparatus
  • provides software control of stimulation parameters: pulse width, pulse frequency, frequency duration, train frequency and train duration
  • master timer  for the experiment – real-time program controls timing to 10µs
  • powerful protocol editor allows the user to create custom experimental protocols
  • scope module – real-time scrolling data display that stores up to 4 hours of data, can also log data to disk
  • analysis module – provides plotting, zooming and analysis of collected signals

600A – Software and Support Enables Smooth Muscle Fiber Research

CHALLENGE

In 2012 Dr. Robert Moreland and his lab were studying smooth muscle and how its dynamic contractile properties are regulated. The lab had planned a number of experiments to study vascular and bladder smooth muscle fibers and were familiar with Aurora Scientific equipment. However, the function of smooth muscle is quite unique and it became apparent very quickly that to measure contraction velocity of the fibers, a powerful software with complex protocols would need to be written.

SOLUTION

The Aurora Scientific 600A proved to be the answer. The system acts as a digital controller to acquire data from a number of instruments, but also serves as a way to control the force and length of the tissue being tested. Due to the phasic nature of the tissue, indicated by unpredictable changes in resting tension, a control system and software capable of controlling force in real time was absolutely essential. After writing custom protocols and providing remote and on-site support, these complex experiments became possible to perform.

RESULTS

Dr. Moreland’s graduate student was able to complete her thesis work on time and the data obtained with the test system factored greatly in her work. The system is still an integral part of the lab and Aurora Scientific continues to work closely with Dr. Moreland and his students. The support staff also learned a great deal about smooth muscle and enjoyed the challenge along the way and now the system is capable of measuring properties of skeletal, smooth and cardiac muscle tissue.

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