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About FTA

Sequencer Simulation Mode

The Sequencer can be operated in a simulation mode so that you generate data files without actually being connected to an instrument. The data files will contain random, but organized, data which can then be fed to other analysis programs. This is very useful when checking out database programming. You have independent choices of running without the camera and running without the instrument robotics. Normally you will be remote from the instrument, so you will employ both.

To place the Sequencer in simulation mode, you elect certain choices on the LogOn screen when you start:

  • Camera: Uncheck the 'Enable Camera' checkbox on the LogOn screen. The Sequencer will generate an empty Movie when the 'Open Movie' Sequencer instruction is executed. This Movie will have only one image (and it will be blank), but this will not prevent generation of simulated data for as many images as you wish. Since the simulated data has no connection to the (blank) image, it does not matter how many (blank) images there are or are not.

    It is important to note that, starting with Build 241, the 'Save BMP or JPG Images' instruction is skipped in simulation mode because there is no image object to save. Prior to Build 241, these instructions generated errors as the (blank) image could not really be converted to a BMP or JPG. Technically, the (blank) image is a null image, which is different from, say, an all-black image.

  • Hardware: Check the 'Enable Control' checkbox but also set the com port to 'No Com Port for FTA' on the LogOn screen. This combination enables simulation mode for the robotic hardware.

You can now run the Sequencer full speed with Start or Single Step it. Robotic moves are presumed to be executed immediately in simulation mode. Wait instructions will take their real length of time.

Build 241 added a warning message to the user who tries the run the Sequencer when not setup for simulation mode and also not connected to an instrument.

To Generate Simulated Data

The above setup allows the Sequencer program to execute without generating any errors simply because there is no camera or instrument attached. Often you also want simulated, but realistic, data to appear in output files. To do this, you must add instructions to the Sequencer program to generate this data. When the Sequencer runs attached to a real instrument, this simulated data is overwritten by the real data from the image. Insert the Sequencer instruction 'Movie Analysis | Simulation data' before the real analysis instructions 'Do contact angle measurement' or 'Do IF tension measurement'. The simulation data instruction will have two parameters:

  • Mean value data: the average value of the random data to be generated
  • Variance: the variance of the random data

The software will generate a single random number with these characteristics and it will become the contact angle or interfacial tension. Additionally, it will generate a plausible sessile volume and base width data for contact angle measurements and a plausible pendant volume data for IFT measurements. These additional terms are not affected by your parameters in the Sequencer instruction. Your parameters affect only the angle or IFT.