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The Mobile HomeCage® Large
The Mobile HomeCage® Large allows integrating live imaging, electrophysiological recordings, and optogenetic stimulation with complex behavioral readouts.
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The Mobile HomeCage® Large is a combination of a stable head fixation with a large airlifted arena for 2D navigation. Compared to the standard size Mobile HomeCage®, the large model is better suited for integrating imaging, electrophysiological recordings, and other high-precision tests with complex behavioral experiments. The latter include maze navigation or sociability tests involving several mice. Besides that: the Mobile HomeCage® Large allows mapping place cells during imaging and recording in awake head-fixed mice.
- Stable head-fixation during active locomotion;
- No general anesthesia during training or experiments;
- Cage has flat floor and walls: it resembles laboratory mice’ natural habitat and helps to reduce stress;
- Walls are a source of natural tactile stimulation;
- Fast habituation;
- Behavioral monitoring during imaging and recordings;
- Visual stimulation (from within and outside the cage) is possible but not required;
- Compatible with VR;
- Maze navigation and other complex behavior;
- Technical and experimental support from Neurotar (free).
- acute and chronic two-photon imaging in the brain and spinal cord;
- wide-field imaging;
- functional ultrasound imaging (fUS);
- optical coherent tomography (OCT);
- electrophysiological recordings, including patch-clamp;
- optogenetic stimulation;
- behavioral research, including complex behavior such as maze navigation and sociability tests.
There are three main options: the basic Mobile HomeCage Large, the Mobile HomeCage Large with locomotion tracking capabilities, and the Mobile HomeCage Large with tracking capabilities but with a set of foam cages instead of the carbon fiber cage. The table below shows the product composition for each option.
|Kit parts||Options that do not affect the price||Mobile HomeCage Large - basic model||Mobile HomeCage Large, locomotion tracking||Mobile HomeCage Large, locomotion tracking, foam cages|
|Bridge and towers with adjustable horizontal and vertical positioning||standard or short towers||X||X||X|
|Head fixation block: neck and rotating clamp||clamp options: standard, tilted, elongated, Levelt, fUS||X||X||X|
|Ten head plates for cranial surgery implantation||same model or an assortment (choose from 14 models)||X||X||X|
|Carbon fiber cage (diameter: 290 m or 325 mm)||wall height: 20, 40, 70 mm||X||X|
|Set of parts for assemblying 15 foam cages (diameter: 325 mm)||wall height: 20, 40, 70 mm||X|
|Hose for connecting to air source (diameter: 12 mm; length 3 m)||X||X||X|
|Electronic control unit (ECU)||X||X|
|Sensor board built into the air dispenser||X||X|
|USB connector cable (A to B)||X||X|
|Open source software||X||X|
Unique locomotion tracking solution
The floating cage must be both light and durable. We offer two basic choices: a cage made of carbon fiber or a cage with a foam bottom and plastic walls. The table below explains the differences between these options:
|Carbon fiber cage||Foam cage|
|Weight||46-76 g||60-90 g|
|Has a door||Yes||No|
|Bottom material||Smooth, slippery when wet||Grippy, not slippery|
|Reusable for the same mouse||Yes||Yes|
|Reusable between different mice||Yes||No|
|Disinfection, odor removal||70% ethanol (whole cage)||70% ethanol (walls only)|
|Production method||Hand-made||Water-cutting, 3D printing|
|# of cages per Mobile HomeCage Large set||One (1) cage||Parts for fifteen (15) cages|
|Standard diameters||290, 325 mm||325 mm|
|Standard wall height||20, 40, 70 mm||20, 40, 70 mm|
|Mobile HomeCage Large product number||NTR000254-03||NTR000318-01|
Don’t be fooled by the carbon fiber cage’s seemingly simple design: our cage has a sandwich bottom (for optimal weight and rigidity), and magnets built into the bottom (but not visible to humans and mice). The magnets enable locomotion tracking and reduce rotational inertia.
Foam & plastic are easier to handle. In addition to the round cage, we offer square cages and several maze designs.
Compatibility with 2-photon microscopes
The Mobile HomeCage® Large (with a 325 mm cage) is compatible with the following commercial 2-photon systems without any modifications: Scientifica’s Hyperscope (VivoScope frame), Neurolabware, Nikon A1R (gantry frame), Sutter MOM, LaVision Biotech’s TriM Scope Matrix, Femtonics’ FemtoS-Bridge and Olympus FVMPE-RS (with InnerFocus). With smaller cages, the system also works with Bruker’s Ultima Investigator and 2P Plus models, and with Thorlabs’ Bergamo II and DIY 2-photon. Finally, it is possible to use the system with most commercial microscopes by adding a periscopic extension, such as the Inverterscope available from LSM Tech.
- Dimensions: 720 X 570 X 155 mm (W X D X H)
- Unpackaged weight: 11,7 kg / 13 kg (with locomotion tracking components)
- Materials: aluminum, composite materials.
Airflow and acoustic noise
The air source is not included in the Mobile HomeCage® Large kit. The system requires an airflow of 150 L/min at 20 kPa. Most labs are able to use their local air supplies; some require portable air pumps. Compressed air tanks are not optimal as they run out of air very quickly. Contact us for tips on portable air pumps.
Most acoustic noise in the system comes from the air source. To reduce noise, increase the distance between the air source and the Mobile HomeCage® Large or build an enclosure for the air source.
Electrical noise and shielding
To reduce weight, the Mobile HomeCage is made of a composite material. For this reason, the air dispenser is not shielded. We include a grounding kit with every Mobile HomeCage® Large and recommend using it for grounding the air dispenser lid. This prevents electrical noise from leaking from the air dispenser.
Parts and accessories
Our online accessories shop has variable kit parts (such as head plates and cages), upgrades (such as locomotion tracking) and a wide range of accessories for spinal cord imaging, behavioral research, and operant conditioning.
The Mobile HomeCage® Large is easy to use and it requires minimal maintenance. The carbon fiber cages can be cleaned with a 70% ethanol solution. The head plates are reusable. Learn how to reuse them in our guide to head plates. The air dispenser must be protected from dust and water penetrating inside through the air holes.
References and support
You are not alone. Our support team provides both technical and experimental support. Besides that: dozens of labs worldwide are using the Mobile HomeCage. Learn from them or get help from us!
All Mobile HomeCage® patents and trademarks are the property of Neurotar. Unauthorized use and distribution are strictly prohibited.