In the last newsletter, we described the features of our new acquisition system based on the RHD2132 amplifier chips from Intan. Since then, we assembled that system and started using it in our experiments. We also set up a blog to document our progress.
Testing the new hardware
We now have fully functional designs for headstages and acquisition boards based on Intan's Rhythm interface and digital SPI cable standards. With four headstages connected to one acquisition board, it's possible to stream 128 channels of neural data over a USB cable. We've been testing the system using our 16-tetrode flexDrive in behaving mice and the signal quality looks fantastic.
Now that our designs have been validated, we're ready to start the manufacturing process. We'll be sending the first round of boards to the 24 labs that have signed up to be beta testers. In return, we hope that they'll help us add features to the software by creating new plugins for online analysis and by reporting and fixing issues with the software. If each lab contributes only one plugin, the capabilities of our software will increase tremendously.
If you're interested in trying out our system but didn't sign up for beta testing, we're working on an instruction manual that describes how to build it from scratch. We've already built two complete systems ourselves, and each took us the lesser part of an afternoon. And if all goes well with the beta boards, there's a good chance we'll manufacture another round of boards in a few months, so stay tuned for more information.
Open Ephys blog
For more frequent and more technical updates than we provide in our newsletters, you should check out the new Open Ephys blog. So far, we've written posts on using our system for tetrode recordings, making Intan-compatible fine wire tethers, and configuring our system for closed-loop control. We hope the blog will become a place where all users can share their unique applications.
As always, feel free to get in touch if you have additional questions or want to know how you can contribute.