Over the past year, the New Scale engineering team have been thrilled with the progress MPM users have made with their ambitious Pathfinder Software initiative, integrating Trajectory Planning applications to improve the accuracy and repeatability of probe placement into target regions of the brain. New hardware improvements recently announced will support the higher levels of accuracy needed to properly hit those target trajectories.

We are excited to announce many new changes to the MPM system for 2024. Some of the major improvements are highlighted below, but there are many others not mentioned here – sometimes it’s the small things that make all the difference, like extension cables for our M3-LS linear stages, or spares of those tiny probe mount screws!

MPM System Kit

As multiprobe experiments become more widely adopted, we had many users maxing out the USB hub included in the MPM system kit, so we’ve increased it to a 10-port adapter by default. If you think simultaneously positioning 8 or more probes is impressive, check out our brand-new MIS System, which will enable positioning of up to 24 probes. New Scale Technologies has just commercially licensed this exciting new technology from the Allen Institute for Neural Dynamics. Read the announcement here.

Many users recommended a digital angle sensor to accurately read the insertion angle/pitch angle on their 4-DOF arm. An inclinometer (digital level) is now included in our system kit to help with precise angle measurements. A wristband is included to help prevent damage to equipment from an accidental drop.

4-Degree of Freedom Arm

Etchings are included on both sides of the 4 DOF Arm, for easy readability, regardless of viewing angle. This is particularly important if you are operating the system in a space constrained area, like a faraday cage.

4-DOF Upright Magnetic Arm: Extender Post Kit

We are seeing many users interested in the magnetic 4-DOF arm for its extreme versatility in some experiments with difficult trajectory angles. The Peter’s Lab (University of Oxford) has created and recommends an adapter kit to raise the MPM arm when used with the magnetic base, which New Scale is now offering as a standard accessory. This can be accomplished with a small adapter plate, four Thorlabs Inc. posts and various connecting hardware (Thorlabs parts sold separately, from Thorlabs).

Probe Mounts: Reference Probes

Reference probes are intended to help you calibrate and test the MPM system before use with live, expensive neural probes. By popular request, we have sharpened these reference probes to a very fine point to help with higher accuracy positioning of probes for your bregma/lambda calibration routine.

WARNING: REFERENCE PROBES ARE EXTREMELY SHARP. HANDLE WITH CAUTION.

The photo below shows an NP1.0 probe mount with a reference probe (left) and a Neuropixels NP1.0 neural probe and headstage mounted (right).

MPM Platform

Making adjustments to the MPM Platform height can be important to hit target trajectories. Making leveled adjustments are important to maximize system accuracy. New rubber hard stops make this process much easier.