How to set up an Acquisition Rule in Volocity 5.3

Despite a very hectic vacation over the holiday period, I still had a lot of fun becoming familiar with the latest version of Volocity (5.3), which was released late last year and is bursting with new features. One that I am particularly excited about is the addition of new acquisition rules which means that I can make my acquisition protocols even more flexible. These rules allow me to easily program actions which I would like to occur when conditions, specified by me, are met.

Volocity can detect time changes, device configuration changes and keystrokes, and can respond by changing the acquisition state (pausing, resuming or stopping the protocol), changing the device setup or logging events in the experiment log. As always with Volocity, this is incredibly easy to do – let me show you just how easy by having a look in more detail at how you would add an acquisition rule...

Open the acquisition dialog by selecting Acquisition setup... from the Video menu. To add a new rule, select the Rules tab on the acquisition setup dialog and then click on Add Rule

Acquisition Setup in Volocity

The Edit Rule dialog opens. You can now enter a description of the rule in the “Description” text field. Make sure that you give it a sensible descriptive name so it can easily be identified as you start to build up more rules.

Defining conditions to be met

Firstly, you need to define the conditions that need to be met in order for the rule to be applied. You can add multiple different conditions by clicking on the (+) button, and conditions can be removed by clicking on the (-) button.

Acquisition setup Volocity Imaging Software

You can either choose to apply the rule if any of the different conditions that you have defined are met, or only if all of them are met.  

Acquisition rules Volocity

You can now define the conditions to be met, based on a Keystroke, Time or Device, using the drop down menu. Each of these three options is described in more detail below:

Acquisition rules : keystrokes

Keystroke conditions

After selecting Keystroke, define a single key (any alpha-numeric key) by clicking in the text field and then selecting a key. The key that you have selected will be automatically recorded in the text field. Your condition will be met every time your selected key is clicked during an acquisition.

Keystrok Conditions Rule

Time conditions

After selecting Time, you can then choose ‘before’, ‘after’, or ‘every’ from the drop down menu. Enter a number in the text field and select the units (you can select ‘timepoints’, ‘ms’, ‘seconds’, ‘minutes’ or ‘hours’ from the drop down menu). If ‘before’ was selected then your condition will be satisfied before the defined time period has elapsed. If ‘after’ is selected then your condition will be satisfied after the defined time period has elapsed. If ‘every’ is selected then your condition will be satisfied every time a multiple of the defined period has elapsed during acquisition.

Time Conditions rule

Device Conditions

After selecting Device, select the device name from the drop down menu. Configure the device controls to the state that is to be detected. Each time the device is in this configuration; your condition will be satisfied.

Device Conditions Rule

Defining actions to be performed

When you are happy with the conditions set for your rule, you now need to define the actions that will be executed when these conditions are met. To do this, you simply select an action from the drop down menu. You can add multiple different actions by clicking on the (+) button, and actions can be removed by clicking on the (-) button. Each action is described below:

Defining Actions Acquisition Rules

Wait for

The Wait for action will delay the execution of further actions for the time you define.  Enter a number into the text field and select the units (milliseconds, seconds, minutes or hours) from the drop down menu.

Pause the acquisition/ Resume the acquisition

The Pause the acquisition action will pause the acquisition. Any incomplete time points will be completed before the acquisition is paused. Acquisition can be resumed manually or with a Resume the acquisition action.

Stop the acquisition

The Stop the acquisition action stops the acquisition.  No actions added after this action will be executed.

Change the timelapse to

The Change the timelapse to action allows you to alter the rate at which your time-points are acquired.

timepoint acquisition speed

Change device

The Change device action allows you to select a device name from the drop-down menu and then configure the device’s control to the state that the device is to be changed to when the action is executed.

Create an event

The Create an event action allows you to add a label for a particular event. This label and time will be recorded in the experiment log of the image sequence that is being acquired at the time that the action is executed. This will also be shown anywhere else that events are recorded.

Acquisition events

Once you have defined all of your conditions and the actions to be executed, click OK to save your rule. Once your rule has been saved, it will appear in the Rules tab of the acquisition dialog. When setting up an acquisition protocol, only those rules that are checked will be applied.

Acquisition setup finished

Didn’t I tell you it was easy!

See you next time...