New Scale Technologies has announced general release of V2.8 of its Pathfinder Software, part of its Multi-Probe Micromanipulator (MPM) System for acute in-vivo neural recording in neuroscience brain research.

Key features are:

  • Integration with open-source trajectory planning and data acquisition applications
  • Support for gaming controllers
  • New calibration images for larger mice and rats
  • Additional minor updates and bug fixes

The software enhancements are the direct result of collaboration with leading neuroscience research labs using the MPM System. Support for integration with open-source trajectory planning and data acquisition apps is the key feature in the latest release of New Scale MPM Pathfinder Software for the MPM Multi-Probe Micromanipulator (MPM) System.

Integration with open-source trajectory planning and data acquisition applications

Support for trajectory planning and data acquisition application integration with the MPM System Pathfinder software allows users to view physiology and anatomy side by side during probe insertion and neural recording. It enables users to simulate, plan, execute, debug, and repeat experiments with greater ease and accuracy.

Trajectory planning tools, such as Neuropixels Trajectory Explorer (Peters Lab, University of Oxford) and Pinpoint (Virtual Brain Lab), allow the probe location to be available in a 3D brain model, visualizing the probe as insertions progress. This works in both planning/simulation mode as well as in real-time insertions. New Scale worked closely with Andy Peters at the Peters Lab to test the use of Pathfinder software with the open-source Neuropixels Trajectory Explorer.

Data acquisition apps, such as the Open Ephys GUI (open-ephys.org), SpikeGLX (Janelia.org), and Allego (NeuroNexus.com), can display the brain region and channel depth of each electrode on the real-time traces. New Scale worked closely with Josh Siegle at the Allen Institute to test the use of Pathfinder software with the open-source Open Ephys GUI.

Support for gaming controllers

In addition to keyboard and joystick control, Pathfinder software now supports Xbox-style gaming controllers (wired, or with Bluetooth or USB wireless adapter). These include the Xbox Controller and the EasySMX Controller.

New target images for calibration

Based on user feedback, this release includes a new mouse target image, Adult Mouse 4.1, with a separation of 4.1 mm between Bregma and Lambda. This separation is used in the standard for the Allen Common Coordinate Framework (CCF) brain atlas. A new Adult Rat target image supports a growing interest in using the MPM System for these animals.

About the MPM Multi-Probe Micromanipulator System

The MPM Multi-Probe Micromanipulator System is used by leading neuroscience research labs around the world for automated positioning and insertion of multiple high-density silicon neural probes. The probes are all controlled from one user interface, can be positioned individually, and then inserted simultaneously once the trajectories are planned.

The compact hardware design supports the use of multiple probes in the smallest space. The Pathfinder Software enables simulation, planning and execution of experiments with all probes moving in a common stereotactic coordinate space. Now, researches can view real-time probe locations and monitor brain activity during insertion, through integration with open-source trajectory planning and data acquisition apps.