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Next gen, tetrode drive implant
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Shuttle-drive, the next gen. tetrode drive implant

mouse drive

Tetrode arrays are the gold-standard method for neural recordings in many studies with behaving animals, especially for deep structures and chronic recordings. Here we outline an improved drive design for use in freely behaving animals. Our design makes use of recently developed technologies to reduce the complexity and build time of the drive while maintaining a low weight. The design also presents an improvement over many existing designs in terms of robustness and ease of use. We describe two variants: a 16 tetrode implant weighing ∼2 g for mice, bats, tree shrews and similar animals, and a 64 tetrode implant weighing ∼16 g for rats, and similar animals.These designs were co-developed and optimized alongside a new class of drive-mounted feature-rich amplifier boards with ultra-thin RF tethers, as described in an upcoming paper (Newman, Zhang et al., in prep). This design significantly improves the data yield of chronic electrophysiology experiments.


64-Channel Drive

  • Channel count (small version): 18 drive mechanisms and up to 64 ephys channels per drive.
  • Weight: ~2g for 16 tetrode drives.
  • Build time: < 1 day (small version).
  • 4.5 mm travel distance, fully enclosed mechanism, low center of gravity.

256-Channel Drive

  • Channel count: 64 drive mechanisms and up to 256 ephys channels per drive.
  • Weight: ~15g for 64 tetrode drives.
  • 10 mm travel distance, fully enclosed mechanism, low center of gravity)

Components & Availability

Ready-made drive components are available for purchase at the Open Ephy store here. All profits go towards supporting the Open Ephys initiative if, and only if, parts are bought via this store.

The drive consists of the following components:

  • A 3d printed drive body
  • 3d printed drive shuttles
  • Polymicro (polyimide-coated quartz) shuttle tubes

These components can be purchased as bundle on our store:

  • Polyimide tubes to make guide tube arrays
  • Custom screws (reusable)
  • Electrode interface boards (EIB) are available for 64 channel or 32 channel Omnetics headstages

To assemble the drive and adjust tetrodes, an assembly jig and screwdriver are needed. Both are available on the Open Ephys store.

  • Assembly jig
  • Custom screwdriver

Parts List / Bill of Materials

The bill of materials is located on this google sheet

Citing this Work

When using the Open Ephys shuttle drive implants, please cite the paper:

Jakob Voigts, Jonathan P. Newman, Matthew A. Wilson, Mark T. Harnett (2019). An easy-to-assemble, robust, and lightweight drive implant for chronic tetrode recordings in freely moving animals Link


Copyright Jakob Voigts, Jonathan P. Newman 2019.

This documentation describes Open Hardware and is licensed under the CERN OHL v.1.2.

You may redistribute and modify this documentation under the terms of the CERN OHL v.1.2. ( This documentation is distributed WITHOUT ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTY, INCLUDING OF MERCHANTABILITY, SATISFACTORY QUALITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. Please see the CERN OHL v.1.2 for applicable conditions

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