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Precision Positioning System (PPS)

Primate Sterotaxic Instrument

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Precision Positioning System (PPS)

Primate Sterotaxic Instrument

The Thomas RECORDING stereotaxic instrument for non-human primates called PPS (Precision Positioning System) was originally designed 30 years ago in the research lab of Prof. Dr. Dr. Heribert Reitboeck and Prof. Dr. Reinhard Eckhorn at the Neurophysics Department, University of Marburg, Germany.

Key features:
  • Complete Monkey stereotaxic instrument
  • High precision & quality “Made in GERMANY” by Thomas RECORDING
  • Available for all Thomas RECORDING microdrives (Micro-, Mini– and Eckhorn Matrix Systems)
  • Available with Thomas RECORDING low cost manual electrode drives
  • Unique and very stable three point Thomas head holder
  • Custom-made adaptations for a wide range of applications on request
  • Modular accessories allow for expansion of instrument capabilities


The product is a primate stereotaxic device and consists a rigid table, a primate chair with trolley, a stable frame made of strong aluminum profiles with a curved guided rail, holding the instruments like a xyz manipulator for a Thomas Microdrive system and a reward unit. Furthermore the PPS is equipped with a unique three point head holding system.

Figure 1: Components of the PPS

The PPS has many degrees of freedom like shown in figure 2.

Figure 2: Degrees of freedom of the PPS

Based on the fact that this instrument is engineered and manufactured in Germany a high product quality and reliability is guaranteed. 

The product is modular so that we can customize each component for an easy integration of the system in the customer´s lab environment.

Table with Frame

With the Precision Positioning System (PPS) Thomas RECORDING offers a special table and support system to fit any performance in primate training and recording experiments.

Our extensive capabilities to manufacture custom tables and frame systems provides exceptional stability for our precision positioning system platform. The main part of the Precision Positioning System (PPS) is a heavy metal table and a frame  of strong aluminum profiles. On the rear side, the table is equipped with an u-shaped opening for the primate chair.  The table has four height adjustable legs.

The Thomas RECORDING PPS table with the rigid aluminum profile frame represents the state of the art in primate stereotaxic systems. The PPS table offers Thomas RECORDING performance and quality “Made in Germany” at an affordable price. The aluminum frame rail and carrier system is a rigid and lightweight support for primate stereotaxic instrumentation setups. The frame profiles are cylindrical aluminum extrusions with four longitudinal reinforcing ribs. The 10 mm thick ribs provide four symmetrical dovetail clamping surfaces for carriers and significantly increase the longitudinal and torsional rigidity of the aluminum profile.

Curved guided Rail

Thomas RECORDING’s unique round arch technology used in PPS Series is also a leading development in primate stereotaxic systems for neurophysiological research.

By using this round arch technology one has access to the complete primate skull surface.

The primate head is fixed with the Thomas RECORDING three point head holder . Recording instruments are mounted to the arch like shown in figure 3.

Figure 3: TREC´s PPS curved guide unit for mounting to the PPS frame

Figure 4 shows the curved guide attached to the PPS frame. Thomas RECORDING offers special holders that can be mounted to the curved guide and can slide on the curved guided rail.

Figure 4: PPS with curved guide

Primate Chair

Primate chairs from Thomas RECORDING are designed to enable researchers to restrain primates effectively in a wide variety of research scenarios. Thomas primate chairs may be used in different protocols ranging from standard vision studies to complex behavioral experiments.

Our standard models come equipped with a variety of features. Our chairs are made from polycarbonate, a plastic that is stronger than acrylic yet transparent to permit easy viewing of the subject in the chair. The main body of the chair, which holds the subject, is ventilated and permits movement of arms and legs, reducing muscle atrophy and discomfort.

Figure 5: Front and rear view on the TREC primate chair

In figure 6 the TREC primate chair is mounted to the TREC Precision Positioning System (PPS).

Figure 6: TREC Precision Positioning System (PPS) with integrated primate chair.

XYZ-Manipulator for PPS

Devices that precisely move samples in three orthogonal axis are called XYZ manipulators. Additional rotational movements around these axis are achieved using add-on rotary devices. While there are six degrees of freedom (XYZ and 3 rotations) for these motions.

Figure 7: TREC PPS Xyz-manipulator

Thomas RECORDING XYZ manipulators benefit from a kinematic motion design, providing smooth and reliable motion. The XYZ mechanism incorporates a high precision drive and guidance system. The xyz-manipulator housing is made of a very rigid and also relatively lightweight aluminum construction. 

Figure 8: TREC PPS Xyz-manipulator (3) with TREC 16 Electrode Microelectrode manipulator “System Eckhorn” (2) mounted to the curved guide of the TREC PPS (1)

Reward Unit

The monkey reward system consists of the following components:

  • Electronic control device with TTL compatible control input for controlling the valve that switches a valve ON and OFF. If the valve is switched ON the monkey gets juice or saline for reward or punishment during a training or recording session.
  • The electronic control device is equipped with a handheld remote switch that allows to switch the valve manually. It is possible to select via front panel toggle switch between PC or manual valve control. The electronic control device has an integrated power supple.
  • A fluid container for juice or saline and a special mouth piece for the monkey with holder to mount it to the stereotaxic frame of the Precision Positioning System (PPS), incl. flexible tubing is also part of the delivery.

Figure 9: Mouth piece of the TREC PPS reward unit

Head holder

The PPS Head holder consists of a very rigid unit that is mounted to the PPS frame (see figure 13).

Figure 10: TREC PPS head holder, (1) inner ring that is mounted on the primate skull, (2) outer ring that is mounted to the PPS frame and (3) the frame holders

The main component of this head holder is the ring in the middle. This ring consists of two parts, one outer ring part (2 in figure 10) that is fixed to the holder and a second inner ring (1 in figure 10) that is mounted to the monkey´s skull like shown in the following pictures. The inner ring can be fixed with two screws to the outer ring, so that finally the monkey skull is fixed by the head holder.  

 For a fixation of the head holder inner ring to the monkey´s skull it is required to implant three titanium base plates  on the monkey´s skull. Each base plate is fixed to the skull with small titanium screws (see figure 11).

Figure 11: Three titanium base plates (2) will be implanted on the primate skull (1) in the shown positions (two lateral and one occipital). A titanium pin (2) is screwed in each base plate

Figure 12: The inner ring of the TREC PPS head holder will be mounted to the base plate pins like shown in this picture.

Figure 13: Inner ring mounted on the primate skull

Figure 14: The inner ring is fixed to the outer ring of the TREC PPS head holder by fastening two screws (see green arrows in this picture)

Beside the TREC PPS the Thomas RECORDING head holder is also available with an adapter to be mounted to a primate chair like shown in figure 6 and 7. We can adapt our head holder to any primate chair presently available.

Figure 15: Primate chair head holder

Figure 16: Primate chair head holder mounted to a primate chair

Questions? Please don’t hesitate contacting us!

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