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Blackrock Microsystems primate neuroscience research capabilities

Primate research has been a Blackrock mainstay since our inception. Our Utah Array was originally optimized for the primate cortex, and many of our devices and technologies were created for testing and use in primate labs prior to transitioning them for human applications. Not surprisingly, primate research has become a Blackrock core competency.


Our products and people are attuned to primate research

We have invested considerable time and energy identifying the product features that matter to primate researchers. This includes the channel-count ranges they operate in, how they want to view data and the devices and systems with which primate researchers interface.

Many of our staff members hail from primate research labs and so have valuable insights into primate research obstacles. As such, our products were designed to surmount these challenges—and to improve the user experience and experimental outcomes of primate researchers.


High-channel-count setupA complete High-Channel-Count Primate Setup from Blackrock Microsystems

  1. Electrode Array
  2. CerePlex™ M (2)—32-channel configuration provides access to additional electrodes and brain regions as needed.
  3. Utah Arrays (2)—enable recording from multiple brain regions in this setup.
  4. CerePlex™ E (96 channel)—provides an optimized profile for primate research such that multiple devices fit on the head easily.
  5. Digital Hub—accepts inputs from up to four CerePlex headstages (up to 128 channels. Optical transmission to the NSP facilitates isolation and long-distance transmission.
  6. Cerebus™ System (256-channel)—serves as the data processing system for high-channel-count devices, acquiring, conditioning and syncing data from multiple devices simultaneously.

Setup overview

This setup enables high-channel-count recording from a primate via two Utah Arrays and facilitated by CerePlex E headstages. It also enables recording from additional to electrodes as desired via the CerePlex M.

The digital headstages accommodate many different connectors on the head, for targeting several different regions with the high-channel-count, fixed-geometry Utah Array—ideal for population recordings.

Major system benefits

This setup empowers scientists to analyze how different populations of neurons communicate with one another. It facilitates recording from large groups of neurons in different areas, primarily via cortical recordings, although other electrode types and configurations could be used to access deeper targets simultaneously.

Customer example

Dr. Michael Schmid’s lab studies how the combined activity of different areas of the visual-processing stream contributes to visual perception. The 256-channel Cerebus System enables Dr. Schmid to record population activity from several brain regions simultaneously.

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Wireless setupA complete Wireless Primate Setup from Blackrock Microsystems

  1. Utah Arrays—their fixed geometry is ideal for cortical recordings in primates.
  2. CerePlex W Transmitter —provides wireless communication with the data acquisition device. This opens up new research avenues for social behavior, free moving primates and sleep studies.
  3. Receiving Antenna
  4. CerePlex W Receiver
  5. Digital Hub—accepts inputs from up to four CerePlex headstages (up to 128 channels. Optical transmission to the NSP facilitates isolation and long-distance transmission.
  6. Cerebus™ System (128 channel)—the optimum data processing engine for high-channel-count devices. It properly acquires and syncs data from multiple devices simultaneously.

Setup overview

The CerePlex W digital headstage is a totally unique wireless device that is opening doors to promising research such as studies of sleep, social behavior and freely moving primates. Since the setup and subject are free of cable constraints, unique research avenues are possible and the setup is cleaner.

The device’s battery life and range tradeoff has been optimized based on feedback from many primate researchers. The Utah Array used in the setup is the gold standard for fixed-geometry, population recording.

Major system benefits

Wireless recording opens up new avenues for research and removes the burden of cabling. This opens up such possibilities as freely moving and long-term recording as well as recording during sleep.

Customer example

Valentin Dragoi studies visual patterns in primates. The ability to record using wireless devices opens up the possibility of him being able to monitor the primate visual cortex as they move freely in their environment.

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Electrode drive setupElectrode Drive Primate Setup from Blackrock Microsystems

  1. NAN Electrode Drives—allow precise control of electrode positioning in three dimensions and facilitate reproducible positioning from day to day.
  2. CerePlex M—32-channel configuration provides access to additional electrodes and brain regions as needed.
  3. CerePlex Direct—is a simple and convenient data acquisition system for lower channel count applications.

Setup overview

The NAN drive allows precise and repeatable positioning of electrodes in the brain. It can be attached in a fixed position to the chamber on the skull to ensure repeatability day after day. The CerePlex Direct provides a simple and convenient data acquisition platform for applications that do not require real-time analysis.

Major system benefits

This setup provides for highly repeatable and precise electrode placement in the primate brain in combination with an easy-to-use, cost-effective data acquisition platform.

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