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The new Modular Insertion System (MIS) will enable positioning of up to 24 Neuropixels probes, along with microscope modules for visualization and laser modules for optogenetics.


Victor, NY – The Allen Institute for Neural Dynamics has selected New Scale Technologies as its licensee for its next-generation silicon probe insertion system for brain-wide acute in vivo electrophysiology. The new Modular Insertion System (MIS) expands upon its predecessor, developed as part of the Allen Brain Observatory, to enable researchers to study areas across the entire brain with greater flexibility.

The MIS will be on display at New Scale Technologies’ booth 3222 during the Society for Neuroscience’s annual conference, Neuroscience 2023, from November 12-15 in Washington, D.C.

The Allen Brain Observatory, in an effort to standardize the collection of physiology data from the mouse visual system, included an electrophysiology recording platform based on New Scale’s M3-LS-3.4-15-XYZ Linear Smart Stages and imec’s Neuropixels probes. Neuropixels probes allow researchers to study the electrical activity of neurons as they fire in live animals, giving researchers insights into how the brain processes information. New Scale Smart Stages provide precise positioning of these compact, high-density probes.

 The MIS advances the state of the art in probe positioning to facilitate a wider range of experiments.


The MIS features three standard module options: a probe module and a laser module for optogenetics, both using New Scale’s linear smart stages for precise 3-axis positioning and a microscope module for visualization. Pictured is an MIS with 4 probe modules, 1-laser module, and 1-microscope module.

“Our goal with the MIS is to provide more flexible approach angles, enable the insertion of more probes as recording devices become smaller, provide more open space for behavioral hardware, and allow for easier maintenance during and between experiments,” says Josh Siegle, Senior Scientist at the Allen Institute for Neural Dynamics. 

New Scale’s linear smart stages enable three axes of motorized motion for each Neuropixels probe in the MIS, with up to 24 probes possible. The precision micro stages allow precise control of x-y placement and slow, automated insertion control.

“Our proprietary and patented piezoelectric motor and integrated control electronics allow for the smallest possible total mechatronics system size,” says David Henderson, CEO and Founder at New Scale Technologies. “These miniature linear motion modules enable researchers to pack more probes into a much smaller space than is possible with other motorized positioning systems for neuroscience, while enabling independent and automated control of each motorized axis.”

This license will allow other leading neuroscience laboratories to readily adopt the same hardware used at the Allen Institute, which will accelerate research progress and catalyze breakthroughs. The commercial license allows the Allen Institute to leverage New Scale’s expertise in motion, alignment, fixturing and manufacturing, ensuring that each MIS is optimized for accurate, repeatable positioning of probes.


New Scale Technologies will deliver the first MIS to the Allen Institute in Q1 2024, with commercial availability in Q3 2024.

rendering of a manipulator in the MIS with a three-axis motorized stage assembly and a neuropixels probe

An MIS configuration with 12-probe modules, 1-laser module, and 1-microscope module.

rendering of a manipulator in the MIS with a three-axis motorized stage assembly and a neuropixels probe

A probe module for the MIS, with a Neuropixels probe.

New Scale’s standard Multi-Probe Micromanipulator (MPM) System is available now for researchers working on acute in-vivo recording with multiple silicon probes, or seeking to maximize productivity and precision with automated probe positioning. The MPM System is the first micro-manipulator designed specifically for use with silicon neural probes. It supports neural probes from imec Neuropixels, NeuroNexus, Cambridge Neurotech and more. The compact hardware design enables independent positioning – and simultaneous insertion – of multiple probes in the smallest space, with ample clear area for a virtual task environment.

New Scale’s MPM System Pathfinder Software with virtual coordinate system (VCS) enables simulation, planning, debugging, and repeatable execution of experiments with greater ease and accuracy. All probes move in a common stereotactic coordinate space. Visualization of real-time probe locations, and monitoring of brain activity during insertion, is made possible through integration with open-source trajectory planning and data acquisition apps, allowing researchers to view physiology and anatomy side by side during probe insertion and neural recording.

About New Scale Technologies

New Scale Technologies develops small, precise and smart motion systems for critical adjustments of optics in imaging devices and many other micro positioning applications. Our simple and elegant solutions deliver best-in-class performance in handheld, portable and mobile instruments for medical, scientific and industrial applications. We design and manufacture custom products and license our technology to manufacturers worldwide. Our customers benefit from complete, “all-in-one” motion solutions that are tailored to their unique requirements and easily integrated into their next-generation instruments.

SQUIGGLE is a registered trademark, and New Scale Pathway and UTAF are trademarks of New Scale Technologies, Inc.


About Allen Institute for Neural Dynamics

Launched in 2021, the Allen Institute for Neural Dynamics is a division of the Allen Institute (alleninstitute.org), an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit medical research organization founded by Paul G. Allen in 2003. The Allen Institute for Neural Dynamics is dedicated to answering fundamental questions about brain dynamics at the level of individual neurons, and the whole brain, to reveal how we interpret our environments to make decisions. Knowledge, data, and tools created by the Institute will be publicly shared to advance the field’s understanding of brain function and support the development of therapies for brain diseases and disorders. 

Please note: Press releases are current as published, but are not updated after posting. Refer to our main pages for current information including specifications


Pictured top: New Scale’s standard Multi-Probe Micromanipulator system, using a 4-DOF manual arm for coarse positioning, and three New Scale smart stages for precise XYZ positioning of neural probes.

Pictured left: New Scale’s Pathfinder software, with virtual coordinate system enables simulation, planning and execution of experiments.

Pictured right: Neuropixels Trajectory Explorer (Peters Lab, University of Oxford) enables the live visualization of probe locations in a 3D brain model.