Runrats, A dispatcher frontend
Runrats is a simplified GUI to streamline the process of setting up a rig for a behavioral session. In a lab, it would generally be started by a startup script when launching MATLAB. It can be run by typing
at the matlab command line. It will read the directory structure in the Main_Data_Directory settings preference (or if this is not set, it will assume that your settings are in ../SoloData/Settings) and populate a list of experimenters. The technician or researcher running rats then follows the simple steps:
- Pick an experimenter
- Pick a rat
- Press LOAD
- When ready, press RUN
- When the experiment is over, press END
- Goto step 1.
Behind the scenes, the runrats GUI finds the latest settings file for that rat, loads the appropriate protocol and settings. At the end of the experiment, it (a) stops the State Machine; (b) calls the protocol with action 'end_session'; (c) saves the data; (d) calls the protocol with action 'pre_saving_settings'; (e) saves the settings. Inside your protocol, within 'end_session' you might typically do things like compile summary statistics for today, etc. While within 'pre_saving_settings' you might typically do things like changes to the settings based on what you want the rat to do tomorrow.
If you take a rat out of the training schedule you can add a file called ex_runrats to the rat directory. This will keep the dropdown list of rats from getting too busy by excluding that rat from the list.