Scientists made VR goggles for mice to savagely simulate predators swooping

A group of scientists have designed special virtual reality goggles for mice to study brain activity when they are simulating predators swooping.

2 minutes & 12 seconds read time

A team of researchers at Northwestern University has developed tiny VR goggles for mice, which are designed to simulate overhead threats while mapping the brain activity of the rodent.

Scientists made VR goggles for mice to savagely simulate predators swooping 33333625

The researchers behind the project have put forward the goal of developing a virtual reality device that is capable of monitoring the brain activity of mice while they think they are under threat. The new virtual reality goggles are part of the quest to understand the brain activity of mice, both outward physical responses and inward responses through neural activity, to what is being displayed on the screen.

The results of the study were published in the journal Neuron on Friday and explain that, unlike conventional human-designed VR headsets where the entire device is worn, the team of researchers instead placed the Miniature Rodent Stereo Illumination VR (or iMRSIV) goggles right in front of the mouse while it was on a treadmill. The goggles take up the entire peripheral vision of the mouse and, according to the researchers, the mice involved in the study took to the method much more quickly than past attempts.

According to the study's results, the way mice react to predatory swooping is "not learned behavior; it's an imprinted behavior. It's wired inside the mouse's brain," per co-first author Dom Pinke.

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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