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Open File Format and Public Domain Tools for Neural Data
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There are many data acquisition systems available for neuroscientists interested in multi-channel neurophysiology but all use proprietary, independently-developed file formats for the acquired data. This creates several problems including difficulties in sharing data between laboratories and poor interoperability between equipment, data processing tools and spike classification software from different vendors. Moreover, neuroscientists wanting to develop their own data acquisition hardware or analysis software are forced to support a limited set of proprietary formats or create their own. In Phase I, Bionic Technologies, Inc. will work with all interested data acquisition companies and representative users to develop an open, industry-standard file format for neurophysiological data, create a web- based user forum to support this standard, and provide a C/C++ code library for importing and exporting data in the open format. In Phase II, the usability of the format will be increased by the development of public-domain, open-source software tools for: importing/exporting the data in various programming languages and between a variety of analysis environments; editing, splicing, annotating and reviewing experiment data in the standard file format; generating data files for analysis from simulation environments, and classifying spike waveforms with classical or custom algorithms. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS: The open file format for neural data developed in Phase I and the neural data management tools developed in Phase II will be made freely available to everyone on a neutral, non-affiliated web site. Researchers will also be able to use this site to exchange information and user- developed tools and techniques within an Open Source environment. Bionic Technologies, Inc. and other neuroscience equipment manufacturers will benefit from the increased research activity, and hence increased sales, enabled by this program.
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