The Proteus - Frequently Asked Questions


 

How long do the batteries last?

What are the system requirements for the Proteus Editor program?

I can't open the battery compartment.  What shall I do?

How important is sound as a component of the light/sound experience?

How does AudioStrobe work?

What are the session parameters for the 50 included programs?

Why didn't I receive a software disk?

How do I update the firmware (operating system)?

Why are the LEDs in the lightframes red and green? 

In what way is multicolored light superior to a single color?  

Why is the use of two frequencies simultaneously of value?

What are the advantages of using biofeedback to control Proteus?

Why are there multiple sensor types listed in the Proteus Biofeedback settings?

Can I use Proteus Editor with a MacIntosh computer?

What are the various Proteus modes and how do I use them?

How do I make my own sessions?


 

 

Q:  How long do the batteries last?

A:  We recommend that you use alkaline batteries with Proteus for best results; under normal use you can expect approximately 50 hours continuous operation.  You can also use rechargeable Ni-Cad "AA" batteries, which should last roughly 10-20 hours between recharges.

 

Q: What are the system requirements for the Proteus Editor program?

A:  Windows 98 or later is recommended (we've heard that this may be run under Windows 95, but have not certified it for so doing ourselves).  You need less than 3 MB disc space; practically any system that runs W98+ should work well.  

 

Q: I can't open the battery compartment.  What shall I do? 

A:  Some Proteus battery doors are a bit hard to remove the first time, apparently due to the green metallic paint being slightly thicker than normal.  This is easy to remedy, and once you’ve opened it for the first time, should work fine. 

Normally you would slide the battery door straight down, holding Proteus with the button side facing the floor and the bottom pointing away from you.  Place your two thumbs on the ridged friction guide and press firmly away.  If this doesn’t do the trick, use a small screwdriver or similar object to “pop” the door down and off, by first placing it in one of the two small square holes on either side of the top of the battery door.   Do this carefully to avoid marring the finish of your unit.  

 

Q:  How important is sound as a component of the light/sound experience?

A:  It is especially important as a means for blocking external distractions, and pulsed audio waveforms can help reduce distracting thoughts via patterned stimuli.  Binaural beat frequencies can induce brainwave activity at the beat frequencies in some cases, which further assists in accessing certain states of awareness.  Generally speaking, the audio component is much less important than the visual, since a large part of our brain (about 40%) is involved with vision.  

If you are using AudioStrobe or other forms of audio input, such as various forms of spoken word (affirmations, NLP, etc.) the importance of the audio increases in the overall experience.

 

Q:  How does AudioStrobe work?

The AudioStrobe technique stores an inaudible control signal on digital media such as compact discs; these signals directly control the pulsing of the lights.  Because the signals are mastered at the same time that the CD is, very precise synchronization of the audio and visual stimulation can be achieved.  AudioStrobe was developed by Mr. Andrzej Slawinski of AudioStrobe GMBH, Germany.  

 

Q:  Why didn't I receive a software disc?

A:  We decided not to include the Proteus software on the AudioStrobe sampler disc for two reasons:  first, we could fit an extra “bonus” audio track on the CD that way, and more importantly we were making rapid progress on our new software revision and didn’t want to make a lot of discs with obsolete software! 

You can download the latest version of Proteus software from our website.  Of course, if you do not have internet access we will be happy to send you the software on disc.

 

Q:  I can't download sessions from my computer into Proteus.

A:  Check the following:

·       Have you selected the proper serial port? 

·       Is the serial cable plugged snugly into the computer and Proteus?

·       Are you using the proper cable?  (it should be black; the ThoughtStream cable looks identical but  is beige)

·       Is Proteus in DL mode? (if not, press the middle button until it is, and repeat the download process.

Remember that the Proteus digital display will show rapidly changing numbers if it is receiving data.  If you’ve tried all of the above and you still cannot download, write or call us. 

 

Q:  Are additional sessions available for download?

A:  You may download them from the resources area of our website. More sessions will be available in the future.   

 

Q:  What are the session parameters for the 50 included programs?

A:  You can download a summary sheet in Adobe Acrobat format within the resources area of our website.  An alternative is to load a program into the Proteus Session Editor and inspect it there.

 

Q:  How do I update the Proteus firmware (operating system)?

A:  Launch Proteus Editor and click the “Update Code” button on the top right hand side of the program window.  The following window appears:

b.   Note that there are three checked boxes on the lower right, under “send data to Proteus”; in the future you can selectively upload new session data, code or user preferences separately.  Leave them all checked for the moment. 

c.    Point your cursor to the “Prot1_6.pts”  (or later, if available when you read this) file and left-click to highlight the filename. 

d.   Be sure your Proteus is connected to your PC, and if necessary press the MODE (middle) button until the display reads “DL” (for “download”).   Verify that the PC cable is plugged into the AUX input on the lower right side of Proteus. 

e.   Now left-click the “Upload Code” button.  You will see a display on screen indicating that the firmware update is downloading.  The Proteus display should also show rapidly changing numbers during the download; if this is not the case then either you have not selected the correct serial port, or the serial cable is not properly connected, or you are not in DL mode. 

 

Q:  Why are the LEDs in the lightframes red and green?

A:  We chose these colors because they include a large range of evocable feeling-states, ranging from red (=energizing) to green (=relaxing) with a range of possibilities in between, especially amber, which is most efficient at evoking the “peak performance” state.  Also, our testers reported that these colors produced the most vivid imagery. 

We also produce red/blue (ruby/sapphire) LightFrames; blue is deeply relaxing and the visual effects and overall “feel” of these colors is more trance-like.   

Q:  In what way is multicolored light superior to a single color?

A:  Single-color stimulation does not take into account the differential effects of colored light stimulation on mood and EEG.  Proteus is the first system to provide real-time control over the brightness of both colors simultaneously, allow smooth shifts between the 250+ possible color combinations (16 shades each of red and green).

So a typical “ramp” from 16 hz to 8 hz might start all red, shifting to amber at 12 hz and all green at 8 hz.  Or, you can try your own combinations to explore more unique effects. 

 

Q:  Why is the use of two frequencies simultaneously of value? 

A:  It is possible to elicit more complex states of consciousness by using more than one frequency simultaneously.  In fact, most states of consciousness are not exemplified by a single frequency band. Proteus is the only machine available today which at least partially remedies that situation.

Q:  What are the advantages of using biofeedback to control Proteus?  

A:  For several reasons.  First, the light frequency, brightness, color, etc. may be used to provide you with direct feedback regarding changes in your physiology associated with the use of light/sound stimulation--whether it be increased or decreased arousal, etc.  Secondly, sessions may be created which alternate between light/sound stimulation and biofeedback; this was the approach taken with the Biolight study which led to significant improvement in college grade point average in those who used this system.  Thirdly, the light/sound parameters may be "tuned" in real time to craft highly specific states of consciousness.  

 

Q:  Why are there multiple sensors listed in the Proteus biofeedback settings?  

A:  We're preparing the system for the introduction of a low-cost, multichannel biofeedback system later this year.  Only the EDR 1 setting is active with the ThoughtStream + Proteus combination, although you can assign and scale this data to control any or all of six Proteus parameters.

 

Q:  Can I use Proteus Editor with a MacIntosh computer?

A:  Although we have not tested Proteus Editor with Windows emulation programs, we've heard that it does work with them.  One customer recently wrote, "I found that using on a Mac Connectix Virtual PC with Windows 98 utilizing a Keyspan PDA USB adapter works just fine as far as I can see.  The keyspan adapter can be used for both a Mac or a PC but should be configured for a Mac then within the VPC preferences just map one of the Comm ports to it.  Its a little more problematical to configure it in the VPC as it sets up as comm port 3 which would not work smoothly."

 

Q:  What are the various Proteus modes and how do I use them?

A:

Modes are, simply put, various ways in which Proteus can function.  Much of the power of the  three-button interface is due to this ability to quickly select the features associated with each mode.  

Pressing the middle ('mode') button steps through the various modes described in the table below. 

 

Mode

Name

Function

Pxx

Program memory bank

One of two  separate program storage areas.  Proteus ships with fifty sessions stored in this area, numbered P00 – P49.

Uxx

User memory bank

A second  internal memory area, recommended for storage of sessions you’ve created yourself, downloaded from the Internet, etc. 

Usr

User (manual) mode

Use this mode to select individual frequencies by hand.

PC

PC (personal computer) mode

Use this mode if you are creating your own programs on a PC and would like to preview them in real time.  Also used when Proteus is being controlled by a biofeedback device.

AS

AudioStrobe mode

Use this to play AudioStrobeR encoded audio (CD’s, etc.) through Proteus.

DL

Download mode

For downloading firmware (OS) upgrades and session(s). 

 

Here's a description of how each of the modes operate: 

Pxx

1.     Press the Mode Select (middle) button until the display reads “Pxx”, where “xx” is a number between 00 and 99. 

2.     Select a session by pressing the bottom button.  A single press causes the display to increment one step at a time, while pressing and holding it causes the display to increment automatically.  Notice that the rate at which the session number is displayed speeds up when you hold the button down.

3.     TIP:  you can cause the display to decrement rather than increment if you press the mode button together with the bottom button. 

4.     Press the Start (top) button to start a session. 

 

Uxx

Note:  This feature was added with the release of version 1.62 of the Proteus operating system.

1.  Press the Mode Select (middle) button until the display reads “Uxx”, where   “xx” is a        number between 00 and 99. 

2.  Select a session by pressing the bottom button.  A single press causes the display to increment one step at a time, while pressing and holding causes the display to increment automatically.  Notice that the rate at which the session number is displayed increases as you hold the button down.

3.  TIP:  you can cause the display to decrement rather than increment if you press the mode button together with the bottom button.

4.  Press the Start (top) button to start a session. 

 

Usr

Use this mode to manually select and run specific frequencies without the use of a PC connection.  

1.  Press the Mode Select button until the display shows "Usr".

2.  Press  the Start/Stop (top) button  once.  The light and sound will begin an eight second soft-on sequence.  If you press it twice the soft-on sequence will be skipped and the session will begin at full brightness and volume.  

 

At this point, the lights and sound will run steadily at whatever frequency is shown in the display.  If you'd like to change to another pulse rate, or between on/off and left/right modes, do this:

3.  Press and hold the select key to increment the current flash rate in 0.1 hz increments.

4.  Press the mode/pause key to toggle between LightFrame+audio on/off and left/right.  If the left and right decimals on the display are flashing left/right, then so are the lights and sound. 

Note:  While in user mode you can also adjust the LightFrame color mode or switch between external audio and digital data input. 

 

PC

This powerful feature, introduced with the release of version 1.6 of the Proteus operating system, is used for two primary functions:  real-time preview of sessions you are editing with Proteus Editor, and for setting Proteus to be controlled via biofeedback (initialu, ThoughtStream).  To use this mode,  just press Mode Select until PC is displayed, and follow the instructions in your software documentation for proper use of this mode.

 

AS

AudioStrobeR is one of the most powerful features included in Proteus.  When you select this mode, any AudioStrobe-encoded compact disc will control the LightFrames, allowing precise synchronization between the lights and the audio on the disc.    We've included an AudioStrobe sampler CD with your system, and suggest that you explore this disc to gain a clear idea of what it is capable of.  Contact your dealer for more information about the various available titles.

Tip:  for best results, connect the Proteus audio input to the line output on your CD player.  Then plug your headphones into the headphone jack on your CD player.  Eliminating the audio path through Proteus improves the audio quality of your experience.  

To use AudioStrobe:

1.  Press the Mode Select (middle) button until the display reads “AS”. 

2.  Connect your audio source (CD player or PC) to the AUX input on the lower right side of Proteus.

3.  Be sure that the middle decimal of the Proteus display is NOT flashing.  If it is, press the top and bottom buttons once simultaneously (this sets the input to receive audio instead of data). 

4.  Start your CD and settle back!  Use the volume control on  your CD player to adjust the audio volume; light brightness is adjusted as usual via the top right control knob on Proteus.

 

DL

Use this mode to download sessions and operating system upgrades into Proteus.  You will always know if data is actually making its way into the system because the display digits will rapidly change during download.  

To use this mode, select it by pressing the Mode Select button.  Then follow the instructions included with the reference guide included with the operating system version you are currently using.

 

Q:  How do I make my own sessions?

  The process of creating and editing a new session includes the following basic steps:

1)   Create and name a New File

2)   Insert segment(s) into that file

3)  Edit each segment 

4)  Test segments in realtime using PC mode (optional) 

5)  Save the finished session 

6)  Transfer it to Proteus, alone or as part of an Album. 

1.  Create and name a new file.  Follow these steps:

a.     Open Proteus Session Editor, and click on the New File button.  A single segment will appear at the bottom of the screen.

b.     Save your session by clicking the Save File button, typing in a filename, and selecting (if necessary) the directory folder that the session will be stored in.

2.  Insert segment(s) into the session.    Click the Insert Segment button.  All Proteus sessions require at least two segments in order to allow both “soft on” and “soft off” to be used.  The settings you see are arbitrary.  However, each time you insert a new segment, it will contain the same values as the segment which precedes the insertion point.  Your new segment will be inserted below the heavy black horizontal line; this always appears below the currently selected segment.  You select a segment by clicking your mouse on it; it changes color when you do this as an additional cue.

3.  Edit each segment.  This is where things get more complicated, because there are so many options available to you.  The following is a brief guide to what they are and how to use them.  But first, a brief review of what a segment is.

A segment is the basic organizational unit of the session.  It can be run for one second or many minutes, and is bounded by the light/sound pulse rates and brightness levels at the beginning and at the end of the segment.  For example, suppose you have constructed a twenty second segment with the following parameters:

         Red light pulse rate starts at 7.83 hz and ends at 40.0 hz;

         Red light brightness starts at 2 (low brightness) and ends at 15 (maximum brightness);

         Green light pulse rate starts at 40.0 hz and ends at 7.83 hz;

         Green light brightness starts at 7 (middle brightness) and ends at 7.

[Note: the red channel is called “LFO 1” and the green one “LFO 2”; this is because you can use other color combinations with Proteus, such as red + blue.] 

The Proteus software automatically calculates all of the values in between the starting and ending values as a linear ramp. 

        Segment Parameters.  Each segment can have a variety of other parameters assigned to it:

         Sound Pitch.  Use this  to tune the audio waveform.  Frequency range is from 40.0 to 600.0 hz, and it can smoothly ramp from one pitch to another during the segment. 

         Time.  Use this to control how long the segment will run for.

         Light Frames and Sound Active checkboxes.  These control whether the sound and light are active during the selected segment.

         Soft On and Soft Off checkboxes.  Determines whether the currently selected segment will run through a “soft on” or “soft off” phase; this can be set independently for both light(frames) and sound.  You cannot include both soft on and soft off in a single segment. 

         Bin. Beat.  Check this box if you want the selected segment to include binaural beats.  This works best when the audio waveform is a sine wave; this is Sound Table 1 if you are using the tables which were preloaded into Proteus at the factory. 

         Dual LFOs.  Check this box if you want to assign different pulse rates to the two color channels.  If you leave this unchecked, Proteus will automatically assign Channel 1 frequency information to channel 2.  However, you will still be able to control Channel 1 and 2 brightness information independently.  Leave this box unchecked if you want the frequencies to be locked together—it will save you some time.

         Sync.  This checkbox is only available if you have not checked the  Dual LFOs box.  That is, it only works when the two channels are frequency-locked together.  If you select this feature, then the lights will alternate between the two colors (red-green-red-green…) every pulse.  Use this to create especially vivid visuals, or if you are using monochrome lightframes it will alternate left/right. 

         Do Spcl LF1, etc.  These are “supplemental” commands, which allow even finer control of certain parameters than normally available; they can be only be used with fixed rather than varying frequencies, and will be described in detail in a later tutorial.

         No BioFd Ctrl.  If you have inserted a biofeedback segment into your session, but don’t want it to affect a specific segment, then check this box. 

         Sound Table.  Last—but by no means least—are the Sound Table selection boxes.  The first table is a sine wave (pure tone with no harmonics), which is what you should use for binaural beats.  The other tables include a sampler of other “tone colors”.

[Note: A later tutorial will describe how to create and use your own sound tables (sometimes called “wavetables”).]

4.  Test segments in real time.  One of the most powerful features of the Proteus Editor program is its real time preview capability.  This basically gives you the fast feedback and control you would expect with a PC-resident system, together with the portability of the very compact Proteus.  With the “View Realtime” command you can preview a single segment, or group of segments, or the entire program.  You can also quickly toggle between the Start and Finish parameters. Here’s the sequence of events:

1.  Connect Proteus to your PC and select the serial port you’re using if you haven’t already done so (using the Serial Port popdown menu)

2.  Turn Proteus on and press the Mode (middle) button until the display reads PC

3.  Select a segment to preview by clicking on it once (or select several segments by clicking on the first and while holding the button down, dragging the mouse pointer over all of the segments you wish to select). 

4.  Click on the “View Realtime” button; this will cause several new buttons to appear on the upper right side of the Session Editor window (Run Segment, Run Segments, Run Session, and Cancel).  Select an appropriate one.  A bar appears at the top left, showing you which segment in the selected segment group (if this is what you’ve chosen to do) is being run.  You can cancel the preview at any time. 

         Tip:  Once you’ve run a segment you can click on the Start or Finish portion of any segment and Proteus will immediately “play” those parameters.  (Actually, Proteus “crossfades” between sound tables at the boundary between segments to smooth the transition between them)

5.  Save the finished session.  Once you’re through experimenting, simply select File/Save As and type in a filename.  Now you’re ready to transfer it into Proteus.

6.  Transfer it to Proteus.  The example I’m going to give here is how to transfer a single session into the User memory bank; we’ll get into albums and how they work in a later tutorial.  Here are the steps:

         a.  Be sure Proteus is in DL mode.

         b.  Open the Session Manager (by clicking the Session Mangr. Button)

         c.  Click on Open New Album, then select the session you’ve just created

         d.  Click Add To List; the session name should now appear in the right window (the large one underneath Album Name)

         e.  Select Send To User Area.  The session data will now transfer to the User Area as U01. 

That’s all there is to it!  You’re ready to run the session you’ve just downloaded. 

Note:  remember that whenever you download any number of programs into either the Program or User memory bank, it will erase any programs currently residing in that bank. We prefer to leave the default session bank in the Pxx (Program) bank, and to transfer the ones we're experimenting with into the Uxx (User) bank.  

With the addition of the User memory area, the total number of programs you can store in Proteus increases to 199!