Last Updated on June 1, 2021
Amuza has spent the last year listening to researchers who use optogenetics and imaging techniques with mice and rats and learning from their experiences. As customers use our products their suggestions for how to optimize our products have been invaluable, which sent our engineers back to work. The results are six new upgrades, options, and improvements for our wireless products, making them easier to use, allowing experiments to run longer, and providing a better customer experience.
Updates to Wireless Neuroscience Products
1. Removable, Rechargeable Batteries to Keep Experiments Running
One of the first questions researchers ask us about our wireless neuroscience products is how long the batteries will last, since this determines how long the experiment can run before the headstage needs to be swapped for recharging. To date, Amuza wireless neuroscience systems have been powered by integrated rechargeable batteries. We have offered versions with larger batteries, but this does increase the weight.
Our wireless systems are now offered with removable rechargeable batteries in several sizes. The batteries connect using a simple plug: To continue your experiment, just swap the battery for a recharged one. Choose a standard battery for mice (total weight for TeleFipho, 3.3 g), or a larger battery (total weight 5 g) with 60% longer battery life for rats.
TeleFipho headstage (left) and removable batteries (center, right).
2. Wired, but better.
Not entirely an update to our wireless products, but still highly relevant for long experiments and experiments where switching the battery would disturb the animal. Amuza now offers a wired version of our fiber photometry system. Unlike fiber photometry using optical patch cords, the headstage still contains the light source and fluorescence detection system. For the tether: instead of an optical signal, power and the amplified data signal are sent through a slim electrical cable. Because of this, compared to other wired systems, the wired version of TeleFipho does not degrade the signal by passing it through multiple optical connections or a rotary joint on the way to the detector. The cable is also very flexible, and bending it will not introduce artifacts into the signal. Just let us know what type of plug we should use on the cable, and we can make certain it will be compatible with the commutator you choose, preventing the cable from twisting or tangling.
3. Superior protection from interference for cleaner data on fiber photometry
To optimize the data transmission of our wireless fiber photometry system, we improved the shielding and the antenna on the TeleFipho headstage. This cuts down on both electrical noise in the data, and also makes the radio communication more robust in environments where radio interference has been an issue. In addition to the shielding and antenna improvements, a new directional antenna for TeleFipho provides a great solution for radio interference in more complex environments. If you experienced signal dropouts with TeleFipho’s standard antenna, this antenna should completely eliminate them.
4. New fiber optic cannula sizes for fiber photometry and optogenetics
TeleFipho has now been tested with 200 μm (core) diameter fibers as well as 400 μm. Narrower fibers offer the benefit of causing less physical trauma, as well as being able to target smaller structures. But they collect much less light from the target region, so bright, well expressed fluorescent biosensors are required to get high-quality data. Many of our customers in Japan have now used 200-micron fibers with TeleFipho to detect calcium using newer versions of GCaMP and reported excellent results. We now offer fiber optic cannula with either 200 or 400-micron fibers, cut to the length you specify. The cannula can also be used with our optogenetics system. Please see our blog post on fluorescent biosensors for updated information on sensors used for fiber photometry.
5. Scaling up fiber photometry for more animals
At launch, TeleFipho had four separate radio channels, allowing up to four animals to be monitored in the same room. We added 4 more radio channels to TeleFipho, so now up to 8 systems can be used together simultaneously.
6. Headstage protection chamber prevents equipment damage
Group housing gives animals the opportunity to nibble on or dislodge headstages, plus some cages have wire lids and other surfaces which can catch head-mounted equipment. Our new protection chamber isolates the headstage from the environment but is easy to remove between experiments. We recommend using the protection chamber with rats, non-human primates (NHPs), and other larger animals.
For more information on customizing wireless neuroscience products for your experiments to obtain better data from your wireless system, visit our wireless neuroscience products page.
Which upgrade is the most helpful for your research? What other upgrades would be valuable to you? Leave a comment below.