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Electrophysiology Probe Gripper

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Electrophysiology Probe Gripper

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Robotic Multi-Probe Neural Microdrive

Electrophysiology, measuring the electrical properties of cells and the nervous system, is a critical experimental technique in neuroscience. The technique's popularity increases as electrode technology improves, and researchers can measure larger regions with better resolution. Electrodes are typically mechanically placed in the brain to measure signals in freely moving animals.
This electrode positioning is a big limitation, though, because the micro-positioners used to place them have a single translator per probe so that few probes can be used simultaneously. Janelia researchers have engineered around this limitation by making a miniature robotic multi-probe neural microdrive to handle many probes together, place them accurately, and hold them in place. They can even be adjusted automatically to optimize the signal. 
The robotic microdrives are now fully described in a Janelia publication, with the designs and IP available for licensing and dissemination. These devices will allow users to perform more accurate and sophisticated measurements and generate new exciting results in neuroscience. 
Video 1. 8 Tetrode Control
The proof-of-concept study demonstrated the accurate placement of multiple independent recording electrodes into the CA1 region of the rat hippocampus in vivo in acute and chronic settings. Thus, the robotic neural microdrive technology applies to basic neuroscience and clinical studies and other multi-probe or multi-sensor micro-positioning applications.
Video 2. 16 Tetrode Control
  • Novel phase-change-material-filled resistive heater micro-grippers 
  • The high packing density of the grippers and electrodes
  • Micrometer-precision independent positioning of multiple arbitrarily shaped parallel neural electrodes 
  • Significant size and weight reduction to current devices
  • Remote control and potential automation potential
Intellectual Property:
Mladen Barbic
Richard Smith
Tech ID:
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Robotic Microdrive
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Mike Perham
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