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Immersive VR Goggles Enhances Brain Research of Rodents

Immersive VR spectacles for mice open up new avenues for brain research

New virtual reality specs for mice have been created by researchers at Northwestern University in the United States. In addition to being adorable, these tiny eyewear provide mice housed in experimental environments a more immersive experience.

Through more exact and precise simulation of natural surroundings, researchers may better understand the brain circuitry behind behaviour.

The human brain’s adaptation and response to prolonged viewing of virtual reality is an understudied topic, but the VR goggles might shed a fresh spotlight on it.

The study was published in the Neuron publication. This is the first time an overhead danger has been simulated by researchers using a virtual reality system.

Up till now, laboratories have surrounded a creature with large computers or projector displays. It is similar to watching television in the living area for people. You are able to see the partitions and sofa. They are surrounded by indications that indicate they are not part of the situation. Now consider donning full-vision virtual reality spectacles, such as the Oculus Rift, according to senior writer Daniel Dombeck of Northwestern. Neurobiologists may utilise technologies to examine and study the brain while a rodent moves through a virtual area by holding it stationary on the treadmill.

Dombeck stated that virtual reality effectively creates replications of actual settings. 


The group produced small goggles by using tiny OLED screens and specially made lenses.

The device, referred to as the Miniature Rodent Stereo Illumination VR, has dual displays and a pair of lenses, one on both sides of the head, which individually light both eyes to provide three-dimensional vision.

This gives each eye a 180-degree field of vision, completely submerging the mouse and blocking off its surroundings.

After Dombeck and coworkers scanned the mice’s cerebral cortex, they found that the firing habits of the mental faculties of the goggled rodents appeared very similar to those of creatures in free mobility.

The researchers observed that mice using goggles interacted with the picture far faster than mice using conventional VR devices during juxtaposed assessments.

In the future,  the institution wants to investigate situations when the rodent is the hunter instead of the victim, stated Issa. For example, they may observe brain activity when a creature pursues a fly. That task requires a great deal of distance estimation and depth awareness. They are able to begin capturing such things.

Dombeck said that the goggles have the potential to increase accessibility to neurobiology research due to their low cost and little need for complex laboratory equipment

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