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Whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiology of neurons, although a gold standard technique for high-fidelity analysis of the biophysical mechanisms of neural computation and pathology, requires great skill to perform.  We have developed a simple robot that automatically performs patch clamping in vivo, algorithmically detecting cells by analyzing the temporal sequence of electrode impedance changes.  We demonstrate good yield, throughput, and quality of recording in mouse cortex and hippocampus.

Suhasa Kodandaramaiah
Ed Boyden (MIT)


  1. S. Kodandaramaiah, G. Franzesi, B. Chow, E. Boyden, C.R. Forest, Automated whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiology of neurons in vivo. Nature Methods. ( [.pdf] [supplemental methods] [supplemental software]
  2. M.V. Baratta, S.B. Kodandaramaiah, P.E. Monahan, P.-A. Lin, K. Kim, A. Yang, C.R. Forest, K.A. Goosens, E.S. Boyden, Temporally precise contribution of serotonergic neural activity to stress-induced enhancement of fear learning, (submitted)

Popular Media

  1. A. Konrad, “Four zany ideas that could come true”, Fortune Magazine, Vol. 165(1), p. 66, January 2012. [link]
  2. Trafton, Anne. “Robots that reveal the inner workings of brain cells”, MIT News, (also: R&D Magazine, ScienceBlog, NextBigFuture). May 2012. [link]
  3. O’Hare, Marianne. “The Tech Report: Brain Robot”, Conversations on Health Care. May 2012. [link]
  4. Wagstaff, Keith. “Robot That Connects to Neurons Could Provide Key to Understanding the Human Brain”, Time Magazine. May 2012. [link]
  5. Stix, Gary. “A Robot Helps Listen In on Brain Cell Chatter”, Scientific American. August 2012. [link]

Interested in your own autopatcher robot?

Visit  for a parts list, manual, and software to make your own autopatcher robot.
Visit to purchase ready-to-use custom installations and training.

Graphic coutresy of the Boyden Lab