Meet the fMRI Parrot

fMRI Parrot

Focal Length

What the heck is “fMRI Parrot”?

First of all, the heck is fMRI. fMRI stands for “Functional Magnetic Resonace Imaging”, as defined in Wikipedia. It involves tons of expensive hardware, like Magnetic Resonance machine, and software, used to reconstruct the scanned volumes. During fMRI scanning a series of stimulus are applied to the patient and the brain is scanned using fast scanning MRI techniques. The aim of fMRI is to record immediate changes happening in particular areas of the brain.

The single MRI scan is called “volume”. It is created from a series of slices of the predefined thickness. Having more slices creates more detailed volume and extends acquisition time. As the changes of the brain activity are momentary, a short volume acquisition interval, named TR or “Time Repetition” is needed. Usually it varies from 7 to 1.5 seconds, depending on the capabilities of the MR machine. Short TR time supposes lower quality scans, compared to the “traditional” MR scanning. So the level of detail of particular volume is a trade off between time and specific requirements.

The fMRI scans consists from a number of volumes, recorded at particular intervals. The key condition for a successful scan is the precise timing. In order to find a region with elevated activity, a stimulus must be started just when the volume acquisition begins. For this the MRI machine may expose a short pulse – start of a volume. The pulse may be brought to the MRI control room via the interface box and the required stimulus started automatically. Some stimulus require the patient to respond, eg. press the predefined button. The response from the patient is also brought to the MRI control room. As there are special requirements for any hardware at the MRI machine, only certified equipment is allowed to the MR room. The requirement at the MRI control room are more relaxed as well as the choice of the equipment There are different vendors of the interface boxes and response buttons, NordicNeuroLab (NNL) being one of them.

In order to create the simulation series, or paradigmas in fMRI terminology, a lot of time is needed. Each paradigma is to be verified before the clinical test, while some of them can not be tested without a signal form the MRI scanner or a response from the patient. There is no need to say the MRI equipment is expensive, so is the time spent in the MRI machine. Most of the MRI scanner interface boxed can be used in so called “simulation” mode, sending particular responses at the predefined moments, without actually running the scanner. For example the Sync Box from NordicNeuroLab will send “S” symbol at the start of the volume acquisition, while fORP from Cambridge Reserch Systems is to send “5”. So what is actually required to test a paradigma, is the response from the scan… WAIT!

It’s must not be the MRI scanner nor the interface box.

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Revive the racing wheel

Image courtesy Not the real one, of course. It’s Logitech Formula Force Ex – handy to play, but exposed some signs of aging. The LED on the wheel was not lit and force feedback was not functioning.
Image courtesy The first idea was the power supply was dead or near-dead. It showed circa 3V instead of 14V once connected. As it was fine once disconnected, so the only solution was to go deep inside the base of the racing wheel’s unit.
Image courtesy After some desoldering and resoldering of SMT parts, the possible cause was identified – the A3953, full bridge PWM motor driver from Allegro.
After the IC was desoldered, the power supply exposed the full voltage once connected.
So, the A3953SLBT or the circuits driven by this IC was the real cause.
Quick shopping at e-Bay and the IC arrived in the stunning 10 days.
Solder wick, some flux, washing, connect the power and … YESSS. The LED blinked and the wheel moved to the center position.
Case closed.



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The things: short story

A bending jig, a piece of stainless steel
20160428_234945 Read the rest of this entry »

Hacking A6628SEDT

Epson Stylus Color D68 logics board

The A6628SEDT is a PLCC 44 packed dual motor driver, running in my old Epson printer.
The idea is to controll the chip by some Arduino and make it print PCBs, like these guys did.

The datasheet for the chip is absent, but thes is connection diagram on the printer’s Service Manual.
It seems the chip is dual version of some Allegro motor controllers, having two indpendent data channels and dual H-bridges (or kind of).
According to the schemacics, paper feeder is controled via data channel 0 on pins 28, 29 and 30 (CLK, Data, Strobe accordingly). The carriage motor is controlled via data channel 1 on pins 40 (CLK), 38 (Data) and 39 (Strobe). Read the rest of this entry »

PCB experiments with the UV

The PCB:

A scrap piece of 5+ year old UV sensitive PCB. The sticky black residue on the PCB is the clue from the protective foil.

The mask:

Transparent foil for laser printers. Printed on Samsung CLP-320 in greyscale mode. Single layer.

The traces:

  1. 0,1 mm with the gap of 0,1 mm
  2. 0,1 mm with the gap of 0,2 mm
  3. 0,2 mm with the gap of 0,2 mm
  4. 0,2 mm with the gap of 0,3 mm
  5. 0,2 mm with the gap of 0,4 mm
  6. 0,3 mm with the gap of 0,2 mm
  7. 0,3 mm with the gap of 0,3 mm
  8. 0,2 mm with the gap of 0,6 mm

The rest of the PCB will be used for the rectifier circuit. Read the rest of this entry »

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On the door handiness in Autodesk Revit

I was working on semi – automated solution to enter door handiness in Revit models. The existing solutions are either quite expensive (like Reforma Swing Direction) or has weird assumptions.

My intial setup is Dynamo and the Dynamo Door Set Handing module from It has fine tutorials, so you only need to create your model in Dynamo.

The weird thing on door handines is it is different in some countries.

  • Door handiness in Germany is defined as hinge position on the door, when one is pulling the door to open. if the hinges are on the left side, the door is left-handed, and if the hinges are on the right side, the door is right-handed. I will refer it ad “DIN – style”.
  • The IFC, together with ISO 16739 defines door handiness as the position of “positive Y axis”, which is definitelly the position of door handle when puling.  I will refer it as “ISO – style”.
  • Americans use ISO style, but also has “reversed” option. I still have no idea on this option, as “reversed right” is “left”.

So, what’s to do?

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Pinout for A-364 4× 7-segment LED panel

The panel i bought may be named A-364E, probably appearing from Para Light. At least the seller, writes this information.

The panel itself has markings like “VP 474 AG” and “C1250d5 T”. Quite useless information. Well, at least it is red 4x 7-segment LED indicator, sharing common anode per every digit, quite similar to

BEWARE: it’s impossible to control this panel using SAA1064 LED panel driver, you need HT16K33 or similar.

The first pin is bottom left, counter-clokwise, as usual. The first digit is leftmost.

The pinout as follows:

Pin 1 : “E” segment;
Pin 2 : “D” segment;
Pin 3 : “Decimal point” segment;
Pin 4 : “C” segment;
Pin 5 : “G” segment;
Pin 6 : Common anode for the 4th digit
Pin 7 : “B” segment;
Pin 8 : Common anode for the 3rd digit;
Pin 9 : Common anode for the 2nd digit
Pin 10 : “F” segment;
Pin 11 : “A” segment;
Pin 12 : Common anode for the 1st digit.

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Atnaujintas ieškiklis Mozilla FireFox’ui

Jei dar nepastebėjote, pakeitė savo puslapio išvaizdą ir variklį.


Kai kam. O mano senasis ieškiklis nebeveikia. Teko pagaminti naują, tinkamą dabartinei (as of 2015-01-05) struktūrai.

Pakeliui išsinagrinėjau kaip greitai ieškoti Spikare, AKA kataloge. Mažu kam pravers?

Taigi, ieškyklės Firefox’ui:

MS IE? O kam, kas jį dar naudoja?

Target and the result

A picture worth of thousand bytes

Slightly overexposed – 2× 6W UV-A (or “black light”) lamps is slightly too much at c.a. 8 cm distance at 4 min exposure time;
The text is just too small – add another 10 mils and hope it will be OK;
Maybe the PCB is too old? It’s kind of NOS and may sit for 6 to 10 years in my stock;
There was slight underetching in the top left corner and had to be corrected by hand.

The PCB is for 0,05 – 5 sec timer for MOT welder. The base is NE555 in SO-8 casing, two swichable capacitors of 47uF and 470uF provides the time range, adjusted by 10k trimmer.

Revit and IronPython: the early bird

ODS module does not work on IronPython, and i don’t know the way to add Revit modules to regular Python.Whatever …

''' cut-n-paste from the net
 @author: ejs
 import clr
 import sys
 from Autodesk.Revit.DB import *
 from Autodesk.Revit.DB.Architecture import *
 from Autodesk.Revit.DB.Analysis import *
 #from odslib import ODS
 #ods = ODS()
 uidoc = __revit__.ActiveUIDocument
 doc = __revit__.ActiveUIDocument.Document
 cView = uidoc.ActiveView
 collector = FilteredElementCollector(doc)
 collector = FilteredElementCollector(doc).OfClass(ViewSchedule);
 for elem in elems:
     if cView.Id == elem.Id: Read the rest of this entry »