StreamRecorder: resting-state recording#

A resting-state recording is a simple offline recording during which the brain activity of a subject is measured in the absence of any stimulus or task. A resting-state recording can be designed with a StreamRecorder.

# Authors: Mathieu Scheltienne <>
# License: LGPL-2.1


Both StreamPlayer and StreamRecorder create a new process to stream or record data. On Windows, mutliprocessing suffers a couple of restrictions. The entry-point of a multiprocessing program should be protected with if __name__ == '__main__': to ensure it can safely import and run the module. More information on the documentation for multiprocessing on Windows.

This example will use a sample EEG resting-state dataset that can be retrieve with bsl.datasets. The dataset is stored in the user home directory in the folder bsl_data (e.g. C:\Users\User\bsl_data).

import os
from pathlib import Path
import time

import mne

from bsl import StreamPlayer, StreamRecorder, datasets
from import SoftwareTrigger

To simulate an actual signal coming from an LSL stream, a StreamPlayer is used with a 40 seconds resting-state recording.


<Player: StreamPlayer | ON | /Users/scheltie/bsl_data/eeg_sample/resting_state-raw.fif>

For this example, the folder bsl_data/examples located in the user home directory will be used to stored recorded files. To ensure its existence, os.makedirs is used.

record_dir = Path('~/bsl_data/examples').expanduser()
os.makedirs(record_dir, exist_ok=True)
print (record_dir)



For this simple offline recording, the goal is to start a StreamRecorder, send an event on a trigger to mark the beginning of the resting-state recording, wait for a defined duration, and stop the recording.

By default, a StreamRecorder does not require any argument. The current working directory is used to record data from all available streams in files named based on the date/time timestamp at which the recorder is started.

To record only a subset of the available streams with a specific file name and in a specific directory, the arguments record_dir, fname and stream_name must be provided.

For this example, the directory used to store recordings is bsl_data/examples and the file name will start with example-resting-state.


By default, the start method is blocking and will wait for the recording to start. This behavior can be changed with the blocking argument.

recorder = StreamRecorder(record_dir, fname='example-resting-state')
print (recorder)


<Recorder: All streams | ON | /Users/scheltie/bsl_data/examples>

Now that a StreamRecorder is started and is acquiring data, a trigger to mark the beginning of the segment of interest is created. For this example, a SoftwareTrigger is used, but this example would be equally valid with a different type of trigger.


SoftwareTrigger must be created after a StreamRecorder is started and closed/deleted before a StreamRecorder is stopped.

All triggers do not need an active StreamRecorder to be created.

trigger = SoftwareTrigger(recorder, verbose=True)

To mark the beginning of the segment of interest in the recording, a signal is sent on the trigger. For this example, the event value (1) is used.

Finally, after the appropriate duration, the recording is interrupted.


SoftwareTrigger must be closed or deleted before the recorder is stopped. All triggers do not need to be closed or deleted before the recorder is stopped.

time.sleep(2)  # 2 seconds duration
print (recorder)


<Recorder: All streams | OFF | /Users/scheltie/bsl_data/examples>

A StreamRecorder records data in .pcl format. This file can be open with pickle.load, and is automatically converted to a Raw FIF file in a subdirectory fif. The recorded files name syntax is:

  • If fname is not provided: [date/time timestamp]-[stream]-raw.fif

  • If fname is provided: [fname]-[stream]-raw.fif

Where stream is the name of the recorded LSL stream. Thus, one file is created for each stream being recorded.

fname = record_dir / 'fif' / 'example-resting-state-StreamPlayer-raw.fif'
raw =, preload=True)
print (raw)
events = mne.find_events(raw, stim_channel='TRIGGER')
print (events)


<Raw | example-resting-state-StreamPlayer-raw.fif, 65 x 1056 (2.1 s), ~606 kB, data loaded>
[[18  0  1]]

As for the StreamPlayer, the StreamRecorder can be used as a context manager. The context manager takes care of starting and stopping the recording.

As for the StreamPlayer, the StreamRecorder can be started via command-line when a LSL stream is accessible on the network.

Example assuming:

  • the current working directory is bsl_data in the user home directory

  • the stream to connect to is named MyStream

  • the recorded file naming scheme is test-[stream]-raw.fif, i.e. test-MyStream-raw.fif

$ bsl_stream_recorder -d examples -f test -s MyStream
Stop the mock LSL stream used in this example.

Total running time of the script: ( 0 minutes 9.993 seconds)

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