Revision 1 as of 2015-02-03 15:36:48
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Authors: Francois Tadel, Elizabeth Bock, Sylvain Baillet
Access the raw file
The basic tutorials you read before explain how to import recordings in the database: this operation creates a copy of all the data in Matlab .mat files in the Brainstorm database folders. You could process continuous recordings in the same way, but the .mat format has this limitation that the entire file has to be read even when you want to access just a portion of it. Long recordings usually cannot fit in memory and have to be split in small blocks of a few seconds, which makes it very difficult to review and process.
Brainstorm offers the possibility to visualize continuous MEG/EEG recordings in any of the supported file formats without having to fully "import" them. A link to the native file is created in the database, which can be then manipulated almost like the "imported" recording blocks. Only the description of the file is saved in the database, and when displaying it the values are read directly from the native file.
In addition, an interface allows to edit the time markers that are saved in the file. Those markers can then be used to import the recordings in the database (ie. to do the segmentation of the continuous recordings in epochs/trials). Then the imported epochs/trials (hard copies in .mat format) can be pre-processed and averaged.
Select the exploration mode: "Functional data (sorted by subject)"
- Right-click on the subject node, and select: "Review raw file". Select the "MEG: CTF" file type, and pick the ds folder in "/sample_raw/Data".
- Then you're asked if you want to "Refine the registration with the head points". This operation improves the initial MRI/MEG registration by fitting the head points digitized before the MEG acquisition on the scalp surface with an ICP algorithm. Answer yes. Even if the result is not perfect, it usually improves the positioning of the head in the MEG helmet. The grey surface represents the head extracted from the MRI, the yellow surface represents the inside of the MEG helmet, and the green dots are the head shape points digitized with the Polhemus device; the goal is to align the green points on the grey surface.
- Two new files appeared in the database explorer:
The channel file contains the definition of the sensors, exactly as when importing the files in the database with the "Import MEG/EEG" menu. It is saved in the folder (Common files), because the subject was created using the option "Yes, use one channel file per subject". Therefore, the same channel file will be used for all the folders of Subject01.
- The node named "Link to raw file" contains all the information that was read from the continuous file (file format, time vector, sampling frequency, events, bad channels, path to the original file, etc.), but no recordings. The MEG and EEG values recorded will be read directly from the native file.