A MRI-compatible system for whisker stimulation

Limin Li*, Craig Weiss, Andrew C. Talk, John F. Disterhoft, Alice M. Wyrwicz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We describe here a system for whisker stimulation designed for functional studies in high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) environments. This system, which incorporates real-time optical monitoring of the vibration stimulus, can generate well-controlled and reproducible whisker deflections with amplitudes up to 2. mm and frequencies up to 75. Hz, suitable for functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies of animals. Whiskers on either or both sides of the head can be stimulated selectively during fMRI experiments without removing the subject from the magnet. With a user-friendly graphical interface of a computer, a user can conveniently control both the whisker vibration and gating of the MR imager, and synchronize the stimulation with the fMRI acquisition to ensure precise timing of the stimulus presentation. This whisker stimulation system should facilitate a wide variety of fMRI investigations of the neural systems mediating sensory information from the whiskers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-311
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 15 2012


  • Barrel cortex
  • FMRI
  • Imaging
  • Rabbit
  • Somatosensory
  • Vibration
  • Vibrissae
  • Whisker

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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