by Dr. Michael Schubert
Product Manager (Brain Products)
We are constantly striving to improve our products for a better research experience. Our gel-based active electrode system is a great choice for high quality EEG recordings even under difficult recording scenarios. With the recent release of the actiCAP slim we made the active electrode* itself 3 times thinner, lighter and more robust and we have also optimized the layout and cable routing for actiCAPs.
A central component of each 32-channel actiCAP slim electrode set is the splitter box (see image on the right). It bundles up all single electrode wires coming from the cap and routes them to the amplifier – nice and neat. In this article we explain some updated features of the splitter box leading to better handling of this everyday item silently doing its job in your research lab.
Lower profile – We made the new version of the splitter box 30% thinner and more lightweight as compared to the previous one. You will notice the difference and the better handling immediately!
Sealed closing – If you do not have direct comparison of which splitter box you are holding in your hand, the easiest way is to check the number of screws. The new version has five screws instead of one. It is easy to imagine how this ensures a firmer closing of the top and bottom half of the splitter box. You won’t find any open gaps anywhere!
A safer mounting for the housing clip – The much-appreciated clip attached to the housing also offered room for improvement. It now sits much tighter ensuring less unwanted movement. In addition to that, it is now completely segregated from the inside of the splitter box protecting the internal electronics most effectively. Clip it anywhere suitable on the participant and have the splitter box work for you as a strain relief for electrode wires!
Integrated strain relief – Talking about strain relief, the top and bottom part of the splitter box have a thin rubber coating on the area of contact and in the openings for electrode wires. This does not only add to a sealed closing, but functions as a strain relief. As a result, connector pins in the inside cannot be pulled out easily and are additionally held in place by the low-profile design. Hence, the rubber sheaths that were required before now become obsolete (see image below)!
Please note that the handling regarding washing and drying of the electrode sets after use does not change with these improvements. The splitter box is not designed to be completely watertight because we still want to enable you to exchange electrodes.
Easy electrode replacement – Discovered a faulty electrode? No problem! The replacement of single electrodes is still possible and even easier than before. Simply undo the five housing screws and exchange the corresponding electrode without any additional steps. Before, an additional metal plate had to be unscrewed (see left picture in the comparison below). A full instruction with pictures can also be found in the actiCAP slim Operating Instructions.
Pro-tip: Use a wooden tooth pick to make your life easier when pulling the connector pins from the internal electronics.
Full compatibility – What about combining your existing electrode sets with the ones now coming with the low-profile splitter boxes? No Problem! You can use both versions across participants in your study. Even different splitter boxes within one subject when doing recordings with 64 channels or more is fine. The only incompatibility, which should be mentioned, is that replacement electrodes for old splitter boxes have rubber sheaths around the cables (see left picture in the comparison above). This is not needed anymore. Here you have two options: Either you are comfortable with carefully sliding the rubber sheath along the cable to make replacement electrodes compatible, or simply order your replacement electrode without a rubber sheath for the new low-profile splitter box.
The new low-profile splitter box has already been introduced as the new standard coming with all actiCAP slim electrodes and corresponding sets and EEG systems. Talk to us or your local distributor for more information on how you can benefit from the new splitter box!
* US patent pending