High-yield electrophysiological extracellular recording in freely moving rodents provides a unique window into the temporal dynamics of neural circuits. Recording from unrestrained animals is critical to investigate brain activity during natural behaviors. The use and implantation of high-channel-count silicon probes represent the largest cost and experimental complexity associated with such recordings making a recoverable and reusable system desirable. To address this, we have designed and tested a novel 3D printed head-gear system for freely moving mice and rats. The system consists of a recoverable microdrive printed in stainless steel and a plastic head cap system, allowing researchers to reuse the silicon probes with ease, decreasing the effective cost, and the experimental effort and complexity. The cap designs are modular and provide structural protection and electrical shielding to the implanted hardware and electronics. We provide detailed procedural instructions allowing researchers to adapt and flexibly modify the head-gear system.

Mihály Vöröslakos*, Peter C. Petersen*, Balázs Vöröslakos*, György Buzsáki. “Metal microdrive and head cap system for silicon probe recovery in freely moving rodent”. *cofirst author, eLife, May 19, 2021. [link] [github] [pdf]