A Head-Mounted Camera System Integrates Detailed Behavioral Monitoring with Multichannel Electrophysiology in Freely Moving Mice

Neuron. 2018 Oct 10;100(1):46-60.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2018.09.020.


Breakthroughs in understanding the neural basis of natural behavior require neural recording and intervention to be paired with high-fidelity multimodal behavioral monitoring. An extensive genetic toolkit for neural circuit dissection, and well-developed neural recording technology, make the mouse a powerful model organism for systems neuroscience. However, most methods for high-bandwidth acquisition of behavioral data in mice rely upon fixed-position cameras and other off-animal devices, complicating the monitoring of animals freely engaged in natural behaviors. Here, we report the development of a lightweight head-mounted camera system combined with head-movement sensors to simultaneously monitor eye position, pupil dilation, whisking, and pinna movements along with head motion in unrestrained, freely behaving mice. The power of the combined technology is demonstrated by observations linking eye position to head orientation; whisking to non-tactile stimulation; and, in electrophysiological experiments, visual cortical activity to volitional head movements.

Keywords: eye movement; head movement; natural behavior; oculomotor; pinna; pupil; vestibular; visual cortex; whisker.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Electrophysiology / instrumentation*
  • Electrophysiology / methods*
  • Eye Movement Measurements / instrumentation
  • Head
  • Head Movements / physiology
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Movement
  • Vibrissae / physiology
  • Video Recording / instrumentation*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology