Dramatic improvements in the graphics performance of PCs offers a unique opportunity for vision scientists to avoid costly duplication of effort by adopting a platform that promotes the sharing of software and minimizes hardware cost. Our goal is to develop a software platform that uses object oriented techniques to simplify and expedite the design of psychophysical and physiological experiments, yet retain flexibility through multiple levels of user access. Users without programming skills will be able to design experiments in a graphical environment by combining existing software components (classes) which inherit functionally from each other. Users with programming experience can enter the system at lower levels to retain complete design flexibility. The platform, WinVis would be available on the WEB or a local computer with the same WEB browser interface. The Neurometrics Institute would maintain the database of stimulus classes and expand it by adding stimuli described in vision science journals as they become available. User contributions would also help expand the database. Besides being a scientist's resource, WinVis would also provide educational modules for classroom demonstrations and laboratory exercises. An intuitive interface and hardware requirements of less than 1000 dollars will ensure the systems rapid adoption for classroom use.
A flexible software development system which provides for the rapid design and execution of experiments will ensure its adoption by vision scientists. Easy to use platform with minimal hardware requirements plus educational modules makes this tool also ideal for classroom settings. By exploiting modern PC hardware, we will provide a much more cost effective product than competitors which depend on proprietary add-on hardware.