Software: Windows, Presentation, DirectX
Of course, individuals with extensive (typically graduate) training in the skills required for functional MRI are essential in setting up and running the tasks, and analyzing the data. We typically collaborate with an MR physicist to help you select the fMRI sequences you will use, and an appropriately-trained clinician for image interpretation and presentation to our presurgical team.
Hardware and software
1. A computer running Windows. We currently run Windows 8.1 on a 2012 apple Macbook Air, in a Parallels virtual machine. Note that software upgrades can influence how the task runs. If possible, it is best to avoid installing antivirus software as this can slow the task in unpredictable ways. This of course introduces the risk of viruses, which can be mitigated by having a laptop that is exclusively used for fMRI and is isolated from the internet. A freshly formatted usb key can be used to transfer scripts and logfiles to and from the machine to decrease virus risk.
Using a laptop is ideal, as if necessary (e.g. using the upgraded tasks), it can also be used to do the pre-scan preparation and post-scan testing.
We also use a usb mouse for the patient to practice Jeff Binder's Semantic Decision Making task.
2. The software for stimulus presentation. These tasks run in Neurobs Presentation. As at March 2017, a one year standard activation costs $275; a teaching laboratory activation costs $90 and a student license is $99.
Detailed installation instructions are available on their website. The software requires you to install DirectX and directs you to this.
3. MRI equipment. At your scanner, you should have –
- A projector for image presentation;
- In-scanner headphones for auditory stimulus presentation
- TTL Pulse receiver to receive fMRI pulses and convey these to the MRI computer.
- If you are using Jeff Binder's task, you will also require a response button for the participant's left hand.