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Object Record

Catalog Number 15.0032.002
Object Name Apparatus, Neurological
Title Apparatus for Studying Eye Movement with PDP 11 Computer
Description .01 Electrical equipment
.02 Electrical equipment
.03 Insta-Code Systems, Inc. Digital inputs/outputs control
.04 PDP 11
.05 Digital/Analog output
.06 Monitor
.07 Rack

.01 In the top position of the rack, this piece has tan enameled metal with vents in the front, and push buttons with PTCT toggle.

.02 Second from the top is the same as above but with a different NIH property number and a Caution Sign taped on.

.03 Digital inputs and outputs control. Light blue metal cover. Rows of connector plugs, many labeled with tape. Along the bottom is a row of input/output lights that are numbered. The door opens. A sticker inside reads "Insta-Code Systems, Inc." All of the connectors on the outside are linked to the computer boards inside. Inside are two racks of boards.

.04 PDP 11/73 control board. It has a tan enameled cover and the entire front is vented. Written on tape is "PDP 11/73" "LSR-LABA." Toggles for power, LTC, boot, and halt.

.05 A monitor in a tan metal case with tape above and below the display labeled -20, -15, -10, -5, -1, 0, 1, 5, 10, 15, 20". There are dials for horizontal, vertical, brightness, and contrast. Black duct tape over one control.

.06 The rack is closed, gray aluminum. Across the front top is "DEC (Digital Equipment Corp.) PDP 11". A handwritten note taped on the left side of the rack provides instructions.
Accession number 15.0032
Caption Apparatus for Studying Eye Movement with PDP 11 Computer
Catalog date 2016-12-07
Catalog type History
Provenance From "Studying the Visual System in Awake Monkeys: Two Classic Papers by Robert H. Wurtz," Michael E. Goldberg, 98, 2007, pp. 2495-2496: "In 1969 Robert Wurtz published three papers in the Journal of Neurophysiology on the physiology of the visual system in the awake monkey.... The first paper described the technique of recording the activity of single neurons in the visual system of the awake monkey, and this study replicated Hubel and Wiesel’s finding in the anesthetized monkey of cells with motion selectivity and orientation selectivity. The second paper showed that this system could be used to answer a cognitive question: could neurons in the striate cortex distinguish, as do normal humans, between the motion across the retina of stimulus moving in the world and the motion across the retina induced by the eye’s moving across a stimulus stable in the world. All of the work today studying the physiology of visual cognition, looking at phenomena like attention, motion perception, and motivation, must trace its genesis back to these two papers.....Wurtz...asked a classic psychological question: "An image moves with respect to the retina both when our eyes move and when the object moves, but in one case we perceive a stationary object, in the other case a moving object. How can we tell the difference?"

This apparatus, consisting of computer boards, a recording camera, oscilloscope, audio monitor, and various electronic components such as preamplifiers, was used in his early experiments.

For more on Dr. Wurtz, please read his excellent autobiography at
Year Range from 1965
Year Range to 2000
Number of images 3
Updated 2016-12-20
Condition Good
Organizations NIH; NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health)
NIH; NIMH, Laboratory of Neurophysiology
NIH; NEI (National Eye Institute)
Buildings Building 49 (Silvio O. Conte Building)
Building 9
NIH Property # .01 859437; .02 869535; .04 869536; .06 860230
Old NIH Property # .06 426364; .07 22744
Serial # none
People Wurtz, Robert H.
Goldberg, Michael E.