Case study: Cambridge Cognition delivers neuropsychology testing in the field

Jan 21, 2014 • camcogcamtechCase Studiescase studyFeaturesHardwarehardwaremotion computingneurosychology


Founded in 2002, Cambridge Cognition develops and commercialises computerised neuropsychological tests. The company's proprietary technology platform, known as CANTAB®, the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery, is based on 25 tests and is now a market leader in two key segments: pharmaceutical clinical trials and academic research. This competitive edge is rooted in the extensive scientific validation of the test battery - unparalleled by others in the field.

These tests not only aid scientists around the world with active research into cognition but also assist pharmaceutical companies conducting clinical trials in order to understand the cognitive effects of drugs, especially in treating conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia, depression and ADHD. The majority of the world's top twenty pharmaceutical companies are Cambridge Cognition clients

The challenge

The CANTAB battery of tests is based on touch-screen technology to deliver rapid, non-invasive cognitive assessment, in the field and in laboratories. Up until 2010, Cambridge Cognition used a tablet PC with a resistive touch screen.

Due to the sensitive nature of the tests it is vital to maintain high performance standards for hardware.  Simple 1-to-1 replacement using different technology is not possible without extensive cross-validation.

Louise Ward, Logistics Manager, Cambridge Cognition explains: “Two critical factors must be borne in mind when it comes to the testing we carry out.  Firstly, testing may run over several years and throughout that period we need consistency to meaningfully compare data

“Secondly we cannot tolerate any degradation in performance of the hardware.  Our tests deal in millisecond reaction times as patients react to on-screen stimuli.  We simply cannot have any variation in results caused by the technology itself.”

The solution

As a CamTech customer since 2004, Cambridge Cognition turned to the systems integrator to specify a new solution based on the more stable capacitive touch screen technology.  Based on this requirement, as well as the form factor of the legacy hardware platform and the Windows basis of the Cambridge Cognition software, CamTech specified the Motion J-series.

In late 2010 Cambridge Cognition adopted the Motion J3500 and has since deployed around 700 units across the globe.

Weighing just 3.6lbs and coated in shock dampening rubber, the J3500 features:

  • Capacitive Dual Touch display options for both finger and digitizer pen input
  • An outdoor viewable 12.1” AFFS + LED backlight, screen available with View Anywhere or Gorilla® Glass for increased display damage resistance
  • MIL-STD-810G and IP52 ratings for ruggedisation
  • Hot-swappable dual batteries that can deliver virtually uninterrupted performance
  • Industry leading anti-theft security technology suite
  • A complete range of peripherals including a battery charger, FlexDock and attachable, spill-resistant mobile keyboard[/unordered_list] 

Because of the need for such high levels of accuracy, Cambridge Cognition subjects the J3500 to sophisticated in-house testing, backed by extensive user training.  The units are monitored and controls are in place to ensure consistency on a given unit throughout its lifetime.

Louise continues: “As a result of our evaluation of the hardware itself, we have realised that the J3500 and Motion have yielded additional benefits alongside the capacitive touch screen. Our users have fed back that the extensive battery life and the double battery capacity has enabled a lot more freedom in their work.”

“In addition the level of ruggedisation has been critical in ensuring the units perform as they should right across the globe.  The presence of two USB ports has also been a key factor in improving use out in the field as tests can be backed up to portable storage devices and our academic users can use software keys stored on USB sticks.”

“Even the more considered pace of upgrades to the units works in our favour as we need time to develop validation, training and support.  In this regard as well as during times when we need technical support our links to Motion and CamTech have been invaluable.”

Looking to the future, Cambridge Cognition is set to explore the options presented by the new J3600. One of the main benefits that this evolution in the J-series offers is that it is fully compatible with the J3500 and all associated peripherals.  This not only ensures continuity of testing but also protects the investment made so far.

Louise concludes: “We have some of the most demanding expectations of the technology we use and the J3500 has met them and in some cases exceeded them. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Motion and CamTech.”