Dodecapus: An MR-compatible system for somatosensory stimulation

Neuroimage. 2007 Feb 1;34(3):1060-73. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2006.10.024. Epub 2006 Dec 19.


Somatotopic mapping of human body surface using fMRI is challenging. First, it is difficult to deliver tactile stimuli in the scanner. Second, multiple stimulators are often required to cover enough area of the complex-shaped body surface, such as the face. In this study, a computer-controlled pneumatic system was constructed to automatically deliver air puffs to 12 locations on the body surface through an MR-compatible manifold (Dodecapus) mounted on a head coil inside the scanner bore. The timing of each air-puff channel is completely programmable and this allows systematic and precise stimulation on multiple locations on the body surface during functional scans. Three two-condition block-design "Localizer" paradigms were employed to localize the cortical representations of the face, lips, and fingers, respectively. Three "Phase-encoded" paradigms were employed to map the detailed somatotopic organizations of the face, lips, and fingers following each "Localizer" paradigm. Multiple somatotopic representations of the face, lips, and fingers were localized and mapped in primary motor cortex (MI), ventral premotor cortex (PMv), polysensory zone (PZ), primary (SI) and secondary (SII) somatosensory cortex, parietal ventral area (PV) and 7b, as well as anterior and ventral intraparietal areas (AIP and VIP). The Dodecapus system is portable, easy to setup, generates no radio frequency interference, and can also be used for EEG and MEG experiments. This system could be useful for non-invasive somatotopic mapping in both basic and clinical studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / instrumentation*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Physical Stimulation / instrumentation*
  • Physical Stimulation / methods
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology*
  • Touch / physiology*