Joystick Control

Imaging studies are an important component of neuroscience research, allowing scientists to investigate the relationship between behavior and brain function. Because of the constraints of the imaging equipment, touchscreens or computer mice are not suitable as methods for response input. Many of the WiltonLogic behavioral tests involve multi-choice input, and would be difficult to adapt to the two-choice button push response input conventional used in imaging tasks. WiltonLogic has been concerned about being excluded from this important area of research and business opportunity. To overcome this limitations, we have been examining the possibility of using joystick input. Optical joysticks, suitable for use in imaging machines, are available commercially (albeit quite expensive). However, we needed to develop software for realting joystick displacement to cursor movement on the screen which felt natural for performing our tests. To achieve this we adapted some of the principles of joystick controlled movement used in computer games. As the cursor nears the target, the cursor velocity is reduced, so that the cursor slows down, making it easier to click on the target. We feel this makes for a natural relationship between joystick displacement and responding. The cross-hair is also relocated to standard positions after certain responses to minimise displacement error accumulation. The images below show screen shots from development stage of the joystick-controlled UVD and VCN tests. The arrangement of the response locations has been adjusted to make it more comfortable to response using the joystick, and in the VCN, the ring of eight response locations as been simplified to two locations with alternating responses.


Joystick control is still at the experimental stage, but could be quickly incorporated into any of the test procedures if a collaborator was intersted in using one in conjunction with neuroimaging.

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