The brain is composed of many different types of neurons. Therefore, analysis of brain activity with single-cell resolution could provide fundamental insights into brain mechanisms. However, the electrical signal of an individual neuron is very small, and precise isolation of single neuronal activity from moving subjects is still challenging. To measure single-unit signals in actively behaving states, establishment of technologies that enable fine control of electrode positioning and strict spike sorting is essential. To further apply such a single-cell recording approach to small brain areas in naturally behaving animals in large spaces or during social interaction, we developed a compact wireless recording system with a motorized microdrive. Wireless control of electrode placement facilitates the exploration of single neuronal activity without affecting animal behaviors. Because the system is equipped with a newly developed data-encoding program, the recorded data are readily compressed almost to theoretical limits and securely transmitted to a host computer. Brain activity can thereby be stably monitored in real time and further analyzed using online or offline spike sorting. Our wireless recording approach using a precision motorized microdrive will become a powerful tool for studying brain mechanisms underlying natural or social behaviors.
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