What does the eye tell the brain?: Development of a system for the large-scale recording of retinal output activity

AM Litke, N Bezayiff, EJ Chichilnisky, W Cunningham, W Dabrowski, AA Grillo, M Grivich, P Grybos, P Hottowy, S Kachiguine, RS Kalmar, K Mathieson, D Petrusca, A Rahman, A Sher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

182 Citations (Scopus)


A multielectrode array system has been developed to
study how the retina processes and encodes visual images. This
system can simultaneously record the extracellular electrical activity from hundreds of retinal output neurons as a dynamic visual image is focused on the input neurons. The retinal output signals detected can be correlated with the visual input to study the neural code used by the eye to send information about the visual world to the brain. The system consists of the following components: 1)
a 32 16 rectangular array of 512 planar microelectrodes with a sensitive area of 1.7 mm2 ; the electrode spacing is 60 m and the electrode diameter is 5 m (hexagonal arrays with 519 electrodes are under development); 2) eight 64-channel custom-designed integrated circuits to platinize the electrodes and ac couple the signals; 3) eight 64-channel integrated circuits to amplify, band-pass filter, and analog multiplex the signals; 4) a data acquisition system; and
5) data processing software. This paper will describe the design
of the system, the experimental and data analysis techniques, and
some first results with live retina. The system is based on techniques and expertise acquired in the development of silicon microstrip detectors for high-energy physics experiments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1434-1440
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science
Issue number4, Part 1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2004


  • analog integrated circuits
  • visual system
  • biomedical electrodes
  • neural networks
  • image processing


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  • Retinal Readout Project

    Mathieson, K., Gunning, D., Litke, A. M., Dabrowski, W., Chichilnisky, E. J., Hottowy, P. & Sher, A.

    1/11/11 → …

    Project: Non-funded project

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