New Scale News
Laboratory Automation Edition 

We continue to improve the MPM System, the first micro-manipulator designed specifically for use with silicon neural probes for acute in-vivo recording. 

In this issue we give you sneak preview of a Virtual Coordinate System for accurate targeting of multiple probes with different insertion angles.

We'd love your feedback on  the virtual coordinate system, or other issues you're trying to solve. Contact us. 

Virtual Coordinate System for Multi-Probe Micro Manipulator (MPM) System

When performing acute experiments with silicon probes, accurate electrode targeting is essential. 

Whether you are recording from the surface of the neocortex or a structure deep within the brain, margins of tens of microns can determine whether or not you succeed in hitting your region of interest. 

Accurate targeting becomes even more challenging when using multiple probes simultaneously. 

Due to physical constraints, some or all of the probes must be inserted at an angle. This makes it impossible to plan your insertion based on traditional stereotaxic coordinates, which assume a vertical insertion path. 

In addition, every extra probe requires time for alignment, which cuts into the valuable time available for recording.
A Virtual Coordinate System being developed for the New Scale MPM System will take the hassle out of multi-probe alignment by allowing each probe to be automatically registered to a 2D image or a 3D reference space.

Through a simple calibration procedure, the software will learn the relative offset and orientation of each probe to the virtual coordinate space. Afterwards, the position of each probe will be displayed within the new coordinate system.

Furthermore, each probe will now move within this global space, rather than along its local axes. This will make it much easier to keep track of probe locations when many are in use simultaneously.
This system can be applied to align probes to a 2D image of the brain surface. It is common to use intrinsic signal imaging (ISI) to identify cortical regions through the skull. By calibrating each probe to the coordinates of the 2D ISI map, target locations can be chosen prior to the experiment, rather than having to manually align the probes using the surface blood vessels as a guide. 

At the Allen Institute for Brain Science, the Virtual Coordinate System has been used to align Neuropixels probes with the centers of up to 6 visual areas.
Another possible application would be aligning probes to structures within a 3D reference atlas, such as the Allen Institute Common Coordinate Framework. Prior to the experiment, all of the probes would be calibrated to this reference space. Then, only a single measurement would be required for the final alignment: the XYZ offset of a skull landmark, such as bregma. Optionally, the 3D atlas can be enlarged or reduced in size to account for differences between subjects.
Once the Z-depth of the horizontal plane on which the target structure is located has been specified, all probe coordinates will be displayed in terms of the virtual coordinate space. 

This will allow the virtual X/Y target locations to be reached while the probes are out of the brain.  Then they can be lowered along their physical Z axes to their final target depth. 

Such a system will make multi-probe targeting much more efficient and accurate.
See us at these upcoming events
Visit our distributors and learn about the MPM System at one of these upcoming events. 
Symposium for Chinese Neuroscientists Worldwide
July 6-9, 2018 |  Qingdao, Shangdong, CHINA
  • Visit Global BioTech - Booth 19/20
Forum of Neuroscience (FENS)
July 7-11, 2018 |  Berlin, GERMANY
  • Visit NeuroNexus - Booth 55A  
  • Visit Cambridge Neurotech - Neurostar Booth 166
Japan Neuroscience Society
July 26-29, 2018  |  Kobe Convention Center, JAPAN
  • Visit Physio-Tech
Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting
November 3-7, 2018 |  San Diego, California, USA
  • Visit NeuroNexus - Booth 1113 
  • Visit Cambridge Neurotech - Booth 1531

Learn more
About Us

New Scale Technologies develops small, precise and smart motion systems for critical adjustments of optics, and many other micro positioning applications. Our tiny "all-in-one" motion modules with embedded controllers are easy to integrate into next-generation instruments for medical, scientific and industrial applications. They speed development time and deliver best-in-class performance in handheld, portable and laboratory systems

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