MR Simulator

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MR simulator.
MR simulator display.

The CNI has a Psychology Software Tools MR simulator available for pre-scan training. The MR simulator can be used to familiarize subjects with the scanning environment, and it is especially useful for subjects that need training in order to prevent excessive movement during scanning, such as children.

Location & Scheduling

The mock scanner is located in room 062 of the CNI suite in the basement of Building 420l. Use the CNI Scheduler to reserve time on it, just as you do for the MR scanner and testing room.


The MRI Simulator includes:

  • ~60cm circular bore with cooling fans and lights.
  • Speakers for scanner noise production.
  • Movable subject table that can be operated from the control panel on the bore or by using the participant remote control.


  • Mock head coil with rear facing mirror
  • 30 inch flat panel LCD display, similar to the scanner display
  • Flock of Birds device for tracking head motion.
  • Right and left hand button boxes with five buttons per hand.
  • Massage Pad - To simulate the vibrations in diffusion sequences, particularly in children's studies, we now have massage pad. The massage pad measures 12 inches by 12 inches. To use the massage pad correctly, place the pad on the simulator bed and position the pad to be right below the shoulder blades of the subject. There are two heat and two massage levels on the Slide Control Box. Setting the massage level on LO simulates the diffusion sequence quite well. It is not necessary to use any heat settings. When you are finished using the pad, turn the controller off and unplug the pad from the wall socket. For now the pad is stored on the window ledge by the simulator bed.


  • SimEffects software to simulate ambient and active scanner sounds.
  • MoTrak tracking system that provides linear feedback of X,Y,Z movement and rotational feedback on X,Y,Z axis (Pitch, Roll, Yaw coordinate) based on user-defined thresholds.
  • E-Prime 2.0 experiment development and presentation software.


  1. Make sure that the simulator and Flock of Birds device are both on. (Flock of Birds should be set to "Fly").
  2. Set up the bed with a clean sheet and pillow case from the cabinets.
  3. Place the head band with motion sensor on the subject along with the headphones, which are not yet connected to the computer.
    • Make sure that the subject is comfortable, and send them into the bore of the simulator. You can also give them the remote control, which will give them control over moving the bed.
    • Connect the headphone jack to the green plug on the small computer box.
  4. Open MoTrak. Once the subject is ready to stay still, reset their head position so that the cross hairs are in the center of the green circle. Begin the trial (see below).
    • MockScanner1.jpg
  5. Start the practice movie by going to Tools->Options. Click on the tab labeled "General" and load the movie file under "Movie Settings." You can also define the threshold for motion detection in this window, as well as load a sound file to play whenever the subject moves beyond the threshold.
    • MockScanner2.jpg

Playing Movies on MoTrak

MoTrak will play any movie file that can be opened with Windows Media Player. Windows Media Player sometimes needs additional codecs to be installed in order to play certain movie extensions (such as .avi). You can find the additional codecs to download here.

In order to play a movie, you should first go "Tools-> Options in the MoTrak menu. Under the "General" tab, you will find "Movie Settings". Click "Browse" to find the movie file on your computer. You can then set the desired circle for motion training. (i.e. the movie will pause when the subject's crosshairs move outside of the Middle Circle.)

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