Imaging via miniature microscopes (miniscopes) is a powerful technique that has allowed for large-scale calcium-dependent neural recordings of deep brain regions previously inaccessible in freely behaving animals. This technique has become much more affordable and customizable due to the efforts of open source miniscopes such as the UCLA miniscope or NINscope. However, the brain tissue aspiration that is required prior to miniscope implantation is still conducted manually via handheld vacuum needle thereby introducing inconsistency and error that are difficult to reproduce. Bo Liang and colleagues have thus created AutoStereota, a high-precision surgical instrument for automated brain aspiration.
AutoStereota consists of a robotic surgical instrument built around a commercially available stereotaxic instrument and an open source MATLAB-based GUI for control. The group validated AutoStereota in their 2019 paper in which they successfully implanted a Gradient Index lens in the dorsal striatum. AutoStereota provides a reproducible, user-friendly approach to brain tissue aspiration prior to micro endoscope implantation that is precise and free of human error.