Client
Synthetic Neurobiology Group, MIT


Project
Willow, a 1000 channel data acquisition system  


Problem
Capture, process, and display 1024 channels of data


Solutions & Expertise
FPGA Hardware Architecture, GUI, Product Development, Experimentation, Data Visualization


Grant
Small Business Innovation Research grant from theNational Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health, under Award Number under Award Number R43MH101943.

 

The brain is tremendously complex, and uncovering its secrets will require huge amounts of high-resolution data.

Today, many aspects of neuroscience are data-starved because of technological bottlenecks. LeafLabs is overcoming this challenge by eliminating these bottlenecks at every stage of the pipeline.

When MIT's Dr. Ed Boyden (2016 winner of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences) needed to create something that had never been done before, he turned to LeafLabs. His lab, the Synthetic Neurobiology Group (SNG), had developed new ultra dense neural implants that could record, a game-changing, 1000 neurons.  

Detail of ultra dense recording sites (9x9 μm with a 11 μm pitch) on silicon probe  

Detail of ultra dense recording sites (9x9 μm with a 11 μm pitch) on silicon probe

 

Close-up of a 1020-channel silicon probe to be packaged onto a PCB breakout (completed version below)

Close-up of a 1020-channel silicon probe to be packaged onto a PCB breakout (completed version below)

No adequate commercial systems existed to record from the probe’s 1,000 channels.
 

Willow is the first product developed from the collaboration of LeafLabs and SNG: the 1024-channel datanode is designed to be modular, one tenth the cost per channel of existing systems, and scalable.

The datanode contains an FPGA that processes 1024 channels of electrophysiological data by communicating concurrently with as many as 32 industry-standard neural amplifier chips. The raw, wide-band data is written directly to a storage drive by the FPGA, while simultaneously being forwarded to a computer for real-time feedback and monitoring by the user. 

Reduced per-channel cost by an order of magnitude compared to what had been commercially available.
 

Willow system showing probes, headstages, and data acquisition module  

Willow system showing probes, headstages, and data acquisition module
 

Live visualization of real-time capture on a per-channel basis    

Live visualization of real-time capture on a per-channel basis
 

 

Data visualization from a 1020-channel in-vivo multielectrode array recording 

Data visualization from a 1020-channel in-vivo multielectrode array recording 

The Synthetic Neurobiology Group was able to record high channel count experiments. 

SNG now uses the Willow system routinely to record high channel count experiments. Through this collaboration, LeafLabs has become a major resource for Dr. Boyden and his research in developing new tools for neuroscience.

Since the development of
Willow, the system has been involved in pilot studies with MIT, Brandeis, UCSF, Harvard, Columbia and Novartis.

Brian Allen of the Synthetic Neurology Group conducting experiments with the Willow System

Brian Allen of the Synthetic Neurology Group conducting experiments with the Willow System

We assist with various levels of projects, including experiment design, basic analysis and data visualization.

To inquire about starting a pilot study with us, contact us at:


Publications & Info

Murray Carpenter. "Glut of data from mice brains tests MIT’s computing power". January 31, 2016: https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2016/01/31/glut-data-from-mice-brains-tests-mit-computing-power/Y3V3sKTUP65FDCJiEJPCPO/story.html#comments

Jörg Scholvin, et al. “Close-Packed Silicon Microelectrodes for Scalable Spatially Oversampled Neural Recording.” EEEI Xplore Digital Library, 24 February 2015: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/articleDetails.jsp?arnumber=7047763 

Justin P. Kinney, et al. “A direct-to-drive neural data acquisition system.”Frontiers in Neural Circuits, Front. Neural Circuits, 01 September 2015: http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fncir.2015.00046/abstract

JP Kinney, J Bernstein, J Scholvin, C Moore-Kochlacs, N Kopell, E Boyden. In vivo experimental testing of scalable 3-d microfabricated electrode array neural recording in mammalian brain. Program No. 659.05. 2014 Neuroscience Meeting Planner. Washington, DC: Society for Neuroscience, 2014. Online.

C. Moore-Kochlacs, J Scholvin, JP Kinney, JG Bernstein, YG Yoon, SK Arfin, N Kopell, ES Boyden. Principles of high–fidelity, high–density 3–d neural recording. Program No. 873.03. 2013 Neuroscience Meeting Planner. San Diego, CA: Society for Neuroscience, 2013. Online.

C. Moore-Kochlacs, JP Kinney, JG Bernstein, SK Arfin, J Scholvin, N Kopell, ES Boyden. Spike sorting for spatially dense high channel count extracellular recordings. Program No. 208.19. 2012 Neuroscience Meeting Planner. New Orleans, LA: Society for Neuroscience, 2012. Online.

To learn more visit scalablephysiology.org maintained by the MIT Synthetic Neural Group.