Intan Technologies, LLC
Janelia Farm Research Campus
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Despite their small size, insects possess sophisticated real time control systems to trigger and coordinate their movements in response to sensory stimuli. Flying predatory insects such as dragonflies perform astonishingly rapid aerial maneuvers in the pursuit of flying prey. Neuroethology – the study of the neural basis of such behavior – is often limited by the size and immobility of traditional electrophysiology instruments which rarely permit the simultaneous study of neural activity and free movement in small animals. To facilitate this research, we have developed a miniature telemetry system that captures neural signals from a freely moving insect and transmits the data wirelessly to a remote digital receiver. The system is built around a custom low-power integrated circuit that amplifies, filters, and digitizes microvolt-level neural signals. All information is transmitted over a wireless 900-MHz digital telemetry link. Our telemetry unit uses a custom 1.5V chip fabricated in a 0.35-μm CMOS process, weighs a quarter of a gram, and runs for five hours on one small battery. We have reduced the weight further by replacing the battery with a photoelectric cell and using concentrated infrared light to power the device. This system has been used to monitor neural potentials from visual target-selective neurons in untethered perching dragonflies, and will soon be used in experiments with freely flying animals.
Biography of Reid Harrison
Reid Harrison received his B. S. in Electrical Engineering at the University of Florida in 1994 focusing on mobile robotics and his Ph.D. in Computation and Neural Systems at Caltech in 2000 under Christof Koch, designing neuromorphic VLSI circuits to model the visual system of the fly. From 2000-2010, Dr. Harrison was a professor at the University of Utah with appointments in the Departments of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Bioengineering. While there, he worked on smart sensors and instrumentation technologies for wireless neurophysiology. In 2010, Dr. Harrison left the University of Utah and joined Intan Technologies as president, moving to Los Angeles, California in the process.
Biography of Anthony Leonardo
Anthony Leonardo received his B. S. in cognitive science with a focus on artificial intelligence from Carnegie Mellon University and his Ph.D. in Computation and Neural Systems in 2002 under Mark Konishi, studying the role of acoustic feedback in learning in songbirds. Here he learned the art and science of neurophysiology and even advanced many aspects of the technology for recording. After a postdoctoral period at Harvard, studying the retinal circuits of the salamander, he began his current position at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Farm as a group leader. He continues to study the salamander visual system and is also developing a new effort to understand the visual system and behavior of the dragonfly.