ITC-18 discontinued

Hi Chris,

Any thoughts on how the consortium should move forward after the ITC-18 is gone?

In the meantime, I’ll be purchasing a few more.



Hi Nicole,

There are a number of options for replacing the ITC-18.

Currently, MWorks includes out-of-the-box support for National Instruments DAQ’s. These are used primarily in the Jazayeri lab. The MWorks interface gives you access to most of the analog and digital I/O functionality supported by NI’s drivers, so you could be up and running as soon as you got the hardware.

Unfortunately, there are some issues that make me worry about the long-term viability of using NI-DAQ’s with MWorks. The Mac is very much a second-class citizen to NI. The driver and API package that MWorks uses (NI-DAQmx Base) supports only a limited subset of the functionality available on Windows, and the list of supported devices that are usable with current Macs is quite small. In addition, the most recent driver release has some significant issues that make it basically unusable with USB devices. Hopefully these will be fixed in the next release, but NI’s half-hearted support for non-Windows platforms doesn’t inspire much confidence.

Beyond NI, the Maunsell lab has been using LabJack devices (specifically the U6) for a number of years, and I believe they’ve been pretty happy with them. Also, LabJack takes cross-platform support for their products seriously, so Mac users don’t miss out on any features. The only issue here is that the Maunsell lab is using a custom MWorks plugin to interface with their LabJack’s, which is tailored specifically to their experiments. If other labs want to start using LabJack devices, then I’ll have to implement a general-purpose LabJack interface for MWorks. That’s fine, of course, and I’ve actually been wanting to do it for a while, but my point is that it isn’t available today.

A few other options come to mind. The Treue lab uses Service USB devices (mostly for digital I/O, I think). Davide Zoccolan’s lab uses Phidgets with MWorks for some I/O tasks. Also, depending on your needs, a semi-custom solution based on Arduino (or something similar) could be an option.

If there’s other hardware that you’re interested in using, I’d be happy to check it out and see if/how we can connect it to MWorks. The main issue with most DAQ vendors is that their software only supports Windows. But if the hardware can be controlled by a Mac application, then we should be able to make it work with MWorks.