Scientists have now created a compact, lightweight, Bluetooth-low-energy-based wireless neuronal recording system.
The wireless system was developed by researchers from the Department of Electrical and Electronic Information Engineering, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Department of Applied Chemistry and Life Science, and the Electronics-Inspired Interdisciplinary Research Institute (EIIRIS) at the Toyohashi University of Technology.
The weight of the system is less than 3.9 g and it measures 15 × 15 × 12 mm3 together with the battery. The system offers the benefits of ideal versatility, high signal quality, and low cost than wired recording using a commercial neurophysiology system. The study was published online on January 8th, 2021, in the Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical journal.
Electrophysiological recording involves penetrating micro-scale needle-like electrodes into the brain tissue and has contributed considerably to basic neuroscience and medical applications. But this technique necessitates optimization of signal quality, cable use, and invasiveness.
Wireless recording can fulfill these demands, but traditional wireless systems are bulky and heavy for use in small animals like mice. Moreover, systems based on their own custom technologies lack versatility and are expensive.
Therefore, the researchers built a lightweight, small-sized, wireless Bluetooth-low-energy neuronal recording system.
We tackled the challenge of developing a lightweight and compact wireless neuronal recording system for use in mice and developed a 15 × 15 × 12 mm3 system weighing 3.9 g with the battery, which is less than 15% of a mouse’s weight (e.g., 33 g for a two-week-old C57BL/6 mouse).
Shinnosuke Idogawa, Study First Author and PhD Candidate, Toyohashi University of Technology
“Surprisingly, the wireless system demonstrates advantages of not only recording without using any cables, but also improvements in signal quality, including signal-to-noise ratios, compared to wired recording with a commercial neurophysiology system. In addition to these advantages, the developed wireless system costs USD $79.90, which is less than the wired system,” added Idogawa.
We demonstrated the wireless system for single channel recording as our first step, but we can increase the channel numbers based on our system, and we are currently developing wireless systems for four-channels and more. Because we use Bluetooth technology, the device features will help us further develop small wireless neurophysiology systems with the advantages of good versatility and low cost for a wide range of users.
Takeshi Kawano, Research Team Leader and Associate Professor, Toyohashi University of Technology
The researchers are confident that the wireless recording system can even be used to analyze the behavioral properties of mice and screening drugs using mice. Since the new wireless neuronal recording system is compact, lightweight, and based on Bluetooth technology, it can also be used for other species such as monkeys and rats.
This study was financially supported by JSPS KAKENHI (grant numbers 17H03250, 26709024, and 20H00244), the Strategic Advancement of Multi-Purpose Ultra-Human Robot and Artificial Intelligence Technologies program from NEDO, and the Nagai Foundation for Science & Technology. Rika Numano was supported by Takeda Science Foundation. Kowa Koida was supported by JSPS KAKENHI (grant number 15H05917).
Idogawa, S., et al. (2021) A lightweight, wireless Bluetooth-low-energy neuronal recording system for mice. Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical. doi.org/10.1016/j.snb.2020.129423.