ByB has had magnificent success using Audacity to view and record their neural data, and Tim has begun thinking about modifying Audacity to contain a digital oscilloscope mode. Here is what he wrote to the Audacity team:
I just sent an e-mail regarding getting Audacity to work on the OLPC (one labtop per child) project, but I want to suggest/discuss a larger idea.
My colleague Greg Gage and I founded “Backyard Brains” as a startup to deliver low cost neuroscience to high schools, universities, and amateur scientists by building tools to record from the nervous system of insects.
We have developed our own electronics, and we are using “Audacity” to view and record the data on labtops. This all works wonderfully on the PC and Mac, and we are currently trying to get it to work on the OLPC (re: previous discussions).
You folks at Audacity have built a very powerful audio processing tool, but you have inadvertently (or maybe intentionally) also created a very valuable scientific tool! By accessing the microphone input of any standard labtop, we can feed almost any analog signal we want from any scientific instrument we build into your very easy to use and intuitive program (with a huge array of post-processing built in). And, If we need to, we simply save our data as wav files and then do any further post-processing in Matlab.
The only thing Audacity needs to make it a killer scientific tool is a sort of “digital oscilloscope” mode with a trigger function. The youtube link below shows what neural data looks like in triggering mode.
To do this would be a modification of the viewing options in Audacity. I do not know how difficult this is, but I wanted to throw it out there. We have been attempting to modify other programs to do this, but Audacity is just a much more mature program. Let me know what you think!