Biobehavioral research in a range of basic and translational disciplines (particularly cognitive neuroscience, neuropsychology and experimental psychology) increasingly involves the integration of multiple devices for the collection of data, such as EEG, fMRI, eye-tracking and physiological measurements (galvanic skin response, EKG). Current state-of-the-art experimental control software has not been designed with this environment specifically in mind, creating a barrier to use for many hardware components, and resulting in many laboratories expending valuable resources to produce their own ad hoc solutions. This situation represents a commercial opportunity for an experimental control system that can provide seamless access to multiple data collection modalities in an intuitive and transparent interface. Paradigm Elements has been designed in response to this opportunity. Implemented as an extension to the Paradigm experimental control system, the *Elements* framework is designed to permit high-level access to a wide range of data acquisition devices using generic commands that are transparently integrated into the base software. In Phase I of this proposal, we developed and tested the overall Elements framework and implemented three prototype Elements: one each for particular EEG and eye-tracking systems, and an element for fMRI experiments. Technical tests revealed that Paradigm Elements met or exceeded all industrystandard measures of timing accuracy. Usability tests revealed a strong preference for Paradigm over its biggest competitor (E- Prime), including both objective measures of time on task and documentation, as well as subjective ratings and survey responses. In Phase II, we will build on these successes by developing new Elements for a wider range of hardware devices, and continuing to test them against technical and usability benchmarks. We will also take concrete steps to prepare for commercialization in Phase III by establishing contacts with hardware vendors in order to collaborate in the production of high-quality hardware integration products and to set the stage for potential licensing and distribution agreements. Successful completion of Phase II will result in a full complement of Paradigm Elements covering the most widely used data acquisition hardware, making Paradigm an essential tool for researchers in a wide range of disciplines that depend on these devices for their research.

Public Health Relevance

We are developing a software package that permits access to complex data acquisition hardware for researchers who lack the specific technical expertise to design their own device interfaces. The level of programming skill required to use many innovative and highly informative techniques is beyond the training of the researchers who could potentially make the best use of them. Therefore, this product has the potential for very high - if indirect - impact on public health by greatly improving the quality and efficiency of research across a wide range of biobehavioral disciplines.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Grants - Phase II (R42)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-BBBP-B (10))
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Grabb, Margaret C
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Perception Research Systems, Inc.
United States
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