System Specifications

On this page, you will find details of both hardware and software, including input codes for scripting. 

Note that to use KbCheck or KbQueueCheck (in Psychtoolbox), you will need to use our script to set the input device numbers (download). To run this script in Windows, please copy the libusb-1.0.dll from the PsychContributed folder into your C:\WINDOWS\system32\ folder or a similarly appropriate place. Alternatively, run KbCheck(-1) to have Matlab try to do this for you.

For an extended note on collecting keyboard responses, see Keyboard Responses.

MRI Scanner


3T MAGNETOM Prisma fit System (Siemens, Erlangen, Germany)


 20-channel head/neck coil
 32-channel head/neck coil
 32-channel spine coil
 18-channel body coil


Data format: DICOM images (.IMA file extension)
Image orientation: Radiological

Note: For EPI sequences, the scanner can produce an additional MOCO series with intra-run motion correction. For more details of standard Siemens output, click here: DICOM Conformance Statement.
For a sample of functional scan parameters used by the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, click here.
The default order of slice acquisition used is ascending, interleaved (details and sample images here).
  • If even number of slices (e.g., 36): 2, 4, 6, ..., 34, 36, 1, 3, 5, ..., 33, 35.
  • If odd (e.g. 35): 1, 3, 5, ..., 33, 35, 2, 4, 6, ..., 32, 34.

  • TTL Synchronization Box


    At the onset of every TR, the TTL signal from the scanner is converted via USB to an ‘Enter’ keyboard input to the stimulus presentation machine.

    Note 1: The keyboard ‘Enter’ key does not correspond to the ‘Return’ key. Please ensure that the correct input key is used.

    Note 2: The first pulse is sent when acquisition of the first volume starts (after the dummy volumes are acquired).

    Stimulus Presentation Machine

    Note: Users are discouraged from using laptop plug-ins, and should instead present stimuli from the stimulus presentation machine provided by the Center (Mac/Windows compatible).
    This will minimise disruption to the system set-up.


    CPU: Intel Core i7 2.8GHz
    RAM: 4GB
    GPU: AMD Radeon HD 6770M 512MB


    Mac OS X 10.6.8
    Windows 7 Home Premium



    Matlab 2009a

    Matlab R2012a

    Psychtoolbox 3.0.8, 3.0.9, 3.0.10

    Note: The user will be asked at start-up which version to use. If earlier versions of Psychtoolbox are required, the user has to provide the compiled version that works with this OS and hardware.

    MS Office 2011

    Windows (using Boot Camp):
    Matlab 2007b, Psychtoolbox 2.5.4
    MS Office 2010
    Presentation 14.9

    Response Boxes

    Note: Users are encouraged to use the NNL response grips or the 4-button response boxes.
    The 5-button response boxes are aged equipment and are fragile, so special permission will be required for their use.
    There is a Matlab script named configDev2 which have the instructions and helpline to use the response Boxes. Please refer to
    it before use.

    (1) NordicNeuroLab (NNL) response grips


    2 grips (2 buttons each)

    Button codes

    Hand               Finger                Code

    Left                 Thumb                    a

    Left                 Index                      b

    Right               Thumb                   d

    Right               Index                     c

    Note: The response grips register for as long as each button is held down.
    For more details, click here: NNL Product Description.

    (2) 4-button response boxes (current designs button box)


     2 boxes (4 buttons each)

     Button Codes

     Hand            Finger           Code

     Left                Little                1

     Left                Ring                2

     Left                Middle             3

     Left                Index               4

     Right              Little                6

     Right              Ring                7

     Right              Middle             8

     Right              Index               9

     Note 1: The input keys are 1!, 2@, 3#, etc. (on a standard keyboard, the row of numbers above the letters). These do not correspond to the numpad keys (1, 2, 3, etc.).

     Note 2: Depending on preference, the buttons can be set for different keys (e.g. ABCD), and for auto-release or not. The default setting will be for numerical input keys and for auto-release (where the key only reports once, even if it is held).

    Please click here for the photos of the left-hand button box and the right hand button box.

    Audio-Visual Equipment

    Note: Users are encouraged to use the projector system for stimulus presentation.
    NNL goggles are delicate, so its use will be limited to eye-tracking studies (by special permission only, and at risk of down-time and imaging artefacts).

    (1) Projector





    Format: 800 x 600 pixels.
    Refresh rate: Set stimulus computer to 60 Hz.
    Field of View (approximate): 18.6
    ° horizontal

    (2) NNL Goggles


    NNL VisualSystem



    Format: SVGA, 800 (x3) x 600 pixels
    Refresh rate: Set stimulus computer to 75 Hz
    Field of View (approximate): 30° horizontal, 23° vertical
    Aspect ratio: 4:3
    Colors: 16.7 million

    Eye tracking camera

    Image type: dark pupil, 1 x IR light sources
    Field of View: 20mm diameter
    Output signal: EIA (NTSC) video signal, 60 Hz half frame

    Software: ViewPoint eye-tracking software (run on a separate Windows XP computer)

    For more details, click here: NNL Product Description.

    (3) MRC camera (to be used with projector)


    12M-i camera with integrated IR light

    Eye tracking camera

    Lens type: fixed focal length with fixed aperture, exchangeable focal lengths: 4.5mm, 6mm, 8mm, 18mm
    Output signal: EIA (NTSC) video signal, 60 Hz half frame

    Software: ViewPoint eye-tracking software (run on a separate Windows XP computer)

    For more details, click here: MRC 12M-i Manual

    Subpages (1): Slice Acquisition