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600A: Real-Time Muscle Data Acquisition and Analysis System

The 600A Digital Controller serves to integrate components and provide the researcher control of system operations, data collection and signal analysis. Most importantly, commands and measurements are executed in real-time using a Linux-RTAI operating system. This ensures precise synchronization of equipment and real-time recording. A unique feature of our 600A is its software force and sarcomere length control capability. The 600A provides force control when using a length controller and a separate force transducer and sarcomere length control when using a length controller and our VSL or HVSL sarcomere measurement system.

The system includes our 650A real-time software, a custom PC with Linux OS and on-board 16-bit DAQ and a 604A signal interface with all required cables.

The unit is capable of controlling and receiving input from all 300C series muscle levers, 400A series force transducers, 700 series stimulators and seamlessly connects to all Aurora Scientific Linux-based software products such as 900B VSL and 950A FluoroTrack. This permits everything from a simple force-pCa curve to complete mechanical characterization of the muscle or cell including kTr, length-tension, force-velocity and stiffness.

Also included with the system is an extensive library of standardized experimental protocols, making even the most demanding tests and multi-measurement processes straightforward and simple.

Included Components

  • data acquisition, control and analysis together in one package, with timing to 0.1 millisecond
  • force and sarcomere length* control using software proportional / derivative control algorithm
  • stimulation parameters: pulse width, pulse frequency, frequency duration, train frequency and train duration
  • protocol functions: length, force and  sarcomere length* control, stimulator and data acquisition control, repeat and stop
  • sequencer function: allows multiple protocols to be run as a single experiment with user defined start / stop, delay time between protocols and manual pause / resume
  • plotting, zoom and direct data analysis

*requires HVSL System for sarcomere length measurements

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 challenges of writing protocols that would result in consistent and  reliable measurement data.

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