Galileo Tactile Stimulus System*

8-Channel, Pneumatic Evoked Response Tactile Stimulator

The Galileo™ is an 8-channel, pneumatic evoked response tactile stimulator that is used to activate populations of low-threshold, rapidly conducting mechanoreceptive afferents in soft tissues overlying joints and muscles. Stimulus response is ideally suited for two of the most skilled sensorimotor systems of the human body; the hand (manipulation) and orofacial (speech) systems. Because of its natural, punctate stimulus, it recruits nerves in the correct order and creates an interference-free signal. It is the first tactile stimulator designed to be used in fMRI and other magnetic imaging suites, using only plastic contacts and air to create the stimulus.

With an 9 ms rise time at 17' tube length and 11ms rise time at 25', this evoked response stimulator is ideally suited for use in fMRI, MEG, EEG, and PET environments. Each channel is equipped with TTL output ports which can synchronize to imaging systems. The dedicated TTL input can be used to start a sequence from another piece of hardware or software, or USB can be used in conjunction with other industry software and hardware to do event-based stimulus triggering.

The Galileo™ has been designed with the researcher in mind. The software and hardware controls allow complete customization of pneumatic frequency, pulse trains and patterns, and wave height. The tuning feature allows you to read the waveform directly from one of the nodes (of your choice) and tweak the wave in the software. The software also includes counterbalanced and random modes, making it perfect for research studies.

The Problem

Researchers have long desired the ability to deliver a tactile stimulus to a subject in an fMRI or other imaging system in order to assess responses in real time. Magnetic, electrical, and audible mechanical systems of tactile stimulus interfere with the magnetic imaging of the brain. In addition, electrical stimulus reverses nerve recruitment, meaning that an adaptation response is absent or extremely limited.

The Solution


The Galileo Tactile Stimulus System was designed with maximum controllability for research environments. The stimulus uses pneumatic pulses generated through a proprietary system, which creates incredibly fast-rising pressure waves. This punctate tactile stimulus is ideally suited for somatosensory stimulus.

Our engineers worked with leading brain researchers to develop the perfect waveform. Once the ideal stimulus was established, they expanded it into a highly customizable 8-channel system


The real power of the Galileo is the ability to control the system’s many features via our included proprietary software package. Since we know that the Galileo will be used in a wide variety of experimental applications, it was designed for maximum customization.

Researchers can design custom pulse sequences, each of which can use different pulse durations, start times, and cycle times. The sequences can be repeated infinitely, stratified, or run randomly to suit the experiment. Data are recorded to a text file.

Researchers running more complex experiments that require integration of multiple stimulus devices, behavioral triggers, or sensory inputs can use serial commands via USB 2.0 to send instructions to the Galileo. Because the pulse delay times are constant, the calculations and programming required are minimal. The Galileo Tactile Stimulus System can be controlled by any software package capable of generating serial commands. The Galileo also accepts per-channel 5V TTL input triggers to do realtime triggering in event-based and cognitive behavioral study environments.

Galileo in action

Galileo™ does not require special training or factory technicians to install it. Simply put the unit onto a solid surface or rack mount in your control room, plug it into the wall, and run the hose assembly into the imaging suite. Once you power on the system, plug in the USB to your computer and start the Galileo™ software.

Once you’ve set up your system, you can begin connecting the synchronization outputs to the imaging system. Use one cable in the “All Channels” sync port, or connect each channel to its own port on your imaging system. For more complex projects, create a serial port in your favorite lab software to control Galileo™


An Array of Research Uses

Our customers come from many fields of research, from motor to speech to behavioral studies. Over time, the Galileo has incorporated new features to expand its usefulness into fields of study we never imagined. We know that the Galileo will become an indispensable tool in your laboratory as well.


The Galileo was initially designed to assist researchers doing sensorimotor research. We have developed a system optimized for this type of research, with a wide array of I/O and synchronization inputs. Researchers in this feild are primarily interested in developing adaptation therapies.

Motion & Gait

One of the unexpected areas in which Galileo has made its mark is in simulating dynamic motion and impact on the body. Galileo Systems acquired for this purpose are factory-optimized before they ship. The Galileo TAC-Cells can be attached to any impact point and fired to simulate motion, all in an fMRI.


The Galileo has special controls to allow it to be integrated into complex experiments. Pulses and/or sequences can be triggered via sensor within a behavioral experiment, simply by creating a trigger within your serial control software. Sequences can also be triggered using a digital TTL (BNC) input.

Hardware Interface

Positive Pressure Waveform Amplitude
Gives control over the amplitude of the pressure waveform.
Negative Pressure Minimum Negative Pressure
Allows the user to raise and lower the minimum negative pressure.
Channel Outputs Individual Synchronization
Allows each channel to connect with the imaging system.
Integrated Output Comprehensive Synchronization
Allows 8-channel synchronization through a single TTL connection.
USB & TTL Input Flexible Software Control
Allows USB 2.0 connection with our proprietary software or third-party serial control, or sequence triggering with a digital TTL (BNC) input.


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Items marked with* are investigational devices and for research use only. CAUTION - Investigational Device. Limited by Federal (or United States) law to investigational use.