A low-cost, portable, micro-controlled device for multi-channel LED visual stimulation

J Neurosci Methods. 2011 Apr 15;197(1):82-91. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2011.02.004. Epub 2011 Feb 12.


Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are extensively used as light sources to investigate visual and visually related function and dysfunction. Here, we describe the design of a compact, low-cost, stand-alone LED-based system that enables the configuration, storage and presentation of elaborate visual stimulation paradigms. The core functionality of this system is provided by a microcontroller whose ultra-low power consumption makes it well suited for long lasting battery applications. The effective use of hardware resources is managed by multi-layered architecture software that provides an intuitive and user-friendly interface. In the configuration mode, different stimulation sequences can be created and memorized for ten channels, independently. LED-driving current output can be set either as continuous or pulse modulated, up to 500 Hz, by duty cycle adjustments. In run mode, multiple-channel stimulus sequences are automatically applied according to the pre-programmed protocol. Steady state visual evoked potentials were successfully recorded in five subjects with no visible electromagnetic interferences from the stimulator, demonstrating the efficacy of combining our prototyped equipment with electrophysiological techniques. Finally, we discuss a number of possible improvements for future development of our project.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Computers / standards
  • Electroencephalography / methods*
  • Electronics, Medical / economics
  • Electronics, Medical / instrumentation*
  • Electronics, Medical / methods
  • Equipment Design / instrumentation*
  • Equipment Design / methods
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Micro-Electrical-Mechanical Systems / instrumentation
  • Micro-Electrical-Mechanical Systems / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Photic Stimulation / instrumentation*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Software / standards
  • Young Adult