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Why does KonteX choose the µHDMI connector over the Omnetics connector?

May 18, 2022

Why does KonteX choose the µHDMI connector over the Omnetics connector?

One of KONTEX’s core philosophies is value-centric design.  While our first design goal is to achieve the best performance (e.g., the smallest headstage), we carefully consider the tradeoffs among the design decisions and try to come up with a design with the optimal balance. In the case of the X-Headstage™, we researched all the commercially available connectors. We compared them to the miniature, hard-to-use Omnetics connectors to find the most suitable connector interface for the data acquisition system. The µHDMI connector is one of the few that comes up the search — it is readily available and low cost, it has a sufficient number of pins, it has a mechanical keyed orientation plug-in design, and it is relatively small;  Though not smaller or lighter, the size and weight of the µHDMI connector is in the same scale as the Omnetics connector and is not the limiting factor in the overall minimization.


Additionally, since the HDMI connector is widely used, its mechanical connection is well-tested and proven. In electrophysiology research, a common challenge researchers face daily is plugging in the animal for data collection. Omnetics connectors are the standard choice for awake and behaving research.  However, due to the small size and pin density, they are difficult to use because of alignment and plug-in and plug-out force. Suppose a mistake were to occur during the plug cycle, the expensive headstage/cable might get damaged, or even worse, the entire head cap/implant might fall off causing the experiment to be prematurely terminated.  It is not uncommon to anesthetize the animal just to plug the animal in. This step can be time-consuming and may also affect animal performance in tasks relating to learning, cognition, etc. The plug-in is straightforward and stress-free when an HDMI X-Headstage™ is embedded with the electrode. The well-proven mechanical design provides lock-in feedback and keyed orientation to ensure a reliable connection. Compared to the 12-pin Omnetics alternative, the data collection through the HDMI system is no longer like rolling a dice.

KONTEX also carefully designed the communication path to be largely compatible with the standard HDMI system. This means some consumer HDMI cables can be used with the X-Headstage™ and XDAQ™. Our $50 HDMI cable is as flexible as the blue Intan SPI cable. This becomes an important feature as consumable part costs can add up.  However, not all consumer HDMI cables can be used.  Use only KONTEX’s stock HDMI cable that has been validated to ensure compatibility with the XDAQ™.


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