Article in eLife Neuroscience

May, 4 2020 DPZ team published the work “Wireless recording from unrestrained monkeys reveals motor goal encoding beyond immediate reach in frontoparietal cortex


System neuroscience of motor cognition regarding the space beyond immediate reach mandates free, yet experimentally controlled movements. We present an experimental environment (Reach Cage) and a versatile visuo-haptic interaction system (MaCaQuE) for investigating goal-directed whole-body movements of unrestrained monkeys. Two rhesus monkeys conducted instructed walk-and-reach movements towards targets flexibly positioned in the cage. We tracked 3D multi-joint arm and head movements using markerless motion capture. Movements show small trial-to-trial variability despite being unrestrained. We wirelessly recorded 192 broad-band neural signals from three cortical sensorimotor areas simultaneously. Single unit activity is selective for different reach and walk-and-reach movements. Walk-and-reach targets could be decoded from premotor and parietal but not motor cortical activity during movement planning. The Reach Cage allows systems-level sensorimotor neuroscience studies with full-body movements in a configurable 3D spatial setting with unrestrained monkeys. We conclude that the primate frontoparietal network encodes reach goals beyond immediate reach during movement planning

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