Digital actuality for mice teaches scientists about navigation

Virtual reality for mice teaches scientists about navigation

Digital actuality is not simply serving to scientists perceive and deal with fellow people — it is serving to them make sense of their 4-legged buddies, too. Researchers have constructed a digital maze that convinces mice they’re operating via hallways once they’re actually operating on a ball. The invention makes it attainable to maintain the rodent’s head nonetheless and research how its mind works whereas it is navigating. That is necessary when you possibly can often acquire solely restricted knowledge whereas a critter is on the transfer. In contrast to earlier prototypes, this does not require coaching the mice earlier than they may give the expertise a attempt.

This strategy does not translate neatly to the human world. Mice rely closely on their whiskers to get round, and the neural imaging requires genetically altering mice to supply fluorescent proteins. Nevertheless, this mouse-sized VR might nonetheless shed loads of mild on autism and different circumstances that have an effect on selections, studying and the senses.

[Image credit: Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images]

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