fMRI-Compatible Electronic Controllers

Hollinger, Avrum and Steele, Christopher and Penhune, Virginia and Zatorre, Robert and Wanderley, Marcelo M.

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

This paper presents an electronic piano keyboard and computer mouse designed for use in a magnetic resonance imaging scanner. The interface allows neuroscientists studying motor learning of musical tasks to perform functional scans of a subject’s brain while synchronizing the scanner, auditory and visual stimuli, and auditory feedback with the onset, offset, and velocity of the piano keys. The design of the initial prototype and environment-specific issues are described, as well as prior work in the field. Preliminary results are positive and were unable to show the existence of image artifacts caused by the interface. Recommendations to improve the optical assembly are provided in order to increase the robustness of the design.