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Scientists Developed Huge VR Glasses For Mice

To study the brains of rodents, researchers created the illusion of an environment using flat screens, but this approach had its limitations in recreating a realistic environment. However, a team of scientists from Northwestern University in Chicago has developed VR glasses that cover most of the mouse’s body. Thanks to this, for the first time it was possible to recreate threats emanating from above and continuously record the brain activity of experimental subjects.
The system is called iMRSIV (Miniature Rodent Stereo Illumination VR – “miniature stereoscopic virtual reality illumination for rodents”). It is not attached to the mouse’s head, like a VR headset for humans – the glasses are placed in front of the treadmill, covering the entire field of view of the rodent. “We designed and built a special glasses holder. The entire optical display – screens and lenses – rotates around the mouse,” one of the study’s co-authors, John Issa, commented on the project.
From the experiments, it became clear that the mice adapted to the new VR environment faster than to previous settings. To simulate a threat, such as a bird attack, expanding dark circles were projected over the heads of the mice on the top of the screens.
This method made it possible to record both the external reactions of mice, such as freezing or acceleration, and their neural activity. In the future, scientists plan to change the scenario so that mice can play the role of predators, which will make it possible to observe their behavior while hunting insects.

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