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Frequently Asked Questions

I would like to try out your response pad before buying it. Where can I see it?

Every year we exhibit at academic conferences. See our Exhibition webpage for the most up-to-date information, and please stop by.
I have an idea for a different type of response device. Do you make special "one of a kind" systems?

Yes, we do. We are usually working on a few special projects like this at any given time. Using components of our standard system we can usually complete special projects in a quick and economical way.

I like your response pads, but want the buttons in different places. Can you do this?

It's easy for us to move the buttons or place them in a different enclosure. We've done this for many customers. Just contact us and provide a drawing of the button placement. Usually there is only a small charge for this customization.
What happens if my response pad breaks?

We'll fix it. It's under warranty for 1 year, so any malfunction is fixed for free. If it is caused by misuse then it is repaired at a reduced charge. After one year, we charge for parts and labor.

See Repairs for detailed information and instructions on returning your equipment for repair.
Is it possible to buy a 3 year premium warranty?

Instead of a 3 year warranty we encourage you to buy a second handheld device. Why? Because in 95% of the cases, it's the handheld that fails, and often from damage which is not covered by the warranty, like a severed or crushed bundle.

A spare handheld device will allow the study to continue without interruption and would cost less than a warranty which would still require a few days of down time. With a 932 system, there is a 20% discount when buying a duplicate device (10% off each).
What if there is something I don't like about the fORP?

Please tell us! Our electronic interfaces including the FIU-932, and the new BIRCH-OIU are designed to be very versatile, and modifications can be easily made with firmware changes. We've spent the past 25 years making the fORP better based on constant feedback from users. We really are interested in what your experience is, and will do what we can to make it better for you in the short and long run.
Can I return the fORP if I don't like it?

Yes, there is a 30-day trial period. If it doesn't meet your research needs, please contact us to arrange for it to be sent back in original condition. We don't want anyone to be unhappy with our equipment. The only caveat is that no data acquired during this period be used in publication or presentation.
I'm a MEG user and the sound of the buttons clicking is a problem. Can you fix this?

We have lots of MEG customers and make the buttons extra quiet for them. Just let us know when you place an order.
Does the FIU-932 have a serial port output?

Yes, it does and it is accessed through the 36 pin MDR type connector on the rear panel. A serial cable can be purchased which mates with this connector.
Does the FIU-932 have TTL lines for the buttons?

Yes, it does and it is accessed through the 36 pin MDR type connector on the rear panel. A parallel cable can be purchased which mates with this connector.
How do I connect the trigger?

This depends a little on your scanner. Usually the hardest part is identifying the appropriate output from your MR scanner. If it is a TTL signal, you can connect it directly to the SMB-BNC input on the interface unit. If it is an optical signal, you can connect it directly to the Agilent HFBR connector. We can provide cables for both connectors.
Does your interface work with EPrime, Presentation, and Superlab?

Yes. Our customers tell us they are using all of these packages.
We're using a real-time system. How fast is your response time?

The FIU-932 has sub-millisecond time resolution. But this answer gives a false impression: the hardware interface delay (through serial, TTL, or USB) and the operating system timing overheads, can severely delay the final reception of the signal by the end software.

Note: the FIU-004/005 interfaces used a synchronous modulation and detection scheme to optically scan the buttons: 4 buttons systems have a time resolution of 0.8 ms and 8 buttons, 1.6 ms.
Why do I need the fiber optic bundle to go out of the magnet room?

Wires can carry noise into the room. The radio frequency receiver in MR systems is incredibly sensitive (signals at the thermal noise level are routinely measured) and any increase in noise is generally unacceptable because it leads to longer scan times or degraded image quality.

Wires can of course be filtered, and this can go a long way to solving the noise problems that they bring.

But the worst thing about noise is that it's unpredictable, so testing if a system adds noise or not is never a fully convincing effort: it may be fine one day and noisy the next when, say, an elevator motor is turned on, or an electrocautery unit is in use. Fiber optics provide the most reassuring solution to this problem, as long as they go all the way from the 'outside world', through the penetration panel, and to the response device.
Why do I want "no metal and nothing electronic" in the magnet room?

Metals interact with magnetic fields. Ferrous metals are especially dangerous and are often strictly forbidden because they can be drawn into the magnet and harm people or equipment along the way. But even non-ferrous metals like aluminum can create odd problems by interacting with time-varying magnetic fields, as well as by having magnetic susceptibilities that distort the shape of the magnetic field near the imaging region of interest.

Just as wires can carry noise into the magnet room, electronics in the room can generate noise. This is generally more of a concern as the electronics in question approach the bore of the magnet, since the proximity to the imaging area is what matters here. Most modern electronics involves switching components, and switching waveforms have broad frequency distributions that can be detected as intermittent radio frequency noise. If there is nothing electronic in the magnet room, this potential noise source is eliminated.
Are there electrical copies or trainer versions of the response devices?

Many of the response devices have trainer versions including most of the standard button boxes and the scroll click. We are developing trainers for other devices, and eventually hope to offer them for all of the standard response devices.

See the Trainers product page for the ones available now.
How long have you been making the fORP?

We started making the fORP in 1996. At first we just made them for a few labs, but people from new sites kept requesting the fORP. It has continued growing by "word of mouth" and the power of the web. Current Designs' fMRI response systems now are used at over two thousand sites on 6 continents.

Topic revision: r4 - 12 Apr 2021, JenniferJohnson
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