Visit GitHub to start building your own mouseVR headset.
Developers at Schaffer-Nishimura Laboratory have created a miniature VR system designed to study the behavior of mice. Tiny subjects are immersed in a variety of closed-loop (interactive) and open-loop (non-interactive) visual scenes using a combination of unique technologies. The news was first reported by Tom’s gear.
“The mouseVRheadset is a VR system for mouse neuroscience and behavior research,” the team said. “Where the headset is ideal for complex virtual reality experiments and behavioral research, the monocular display is ideal for simple visual stimulation for basic visual neuroscience applications.”
The mouseVR headset is powered by a Raspberry Pi 4 computer running the Godot video game engine and features dual SPI displays to deliver simple VR experiences at 240×210 resolution and >60fps frame rate. These components are linked together using a custom 3D-printed helmet case that holds the subject’s head in place during testing.
A spherical treadmill allows mice to navigate naturally through closed-loop virtual reality experiences. The system is composed of an air-suspended styrofoam ball, a faceplate support, optical sensors and a microcontroller. As the mice move across the ball, optical sensors aimed at the treadmill track yaw, pitch, and roll and translate the data into 2D motion.
“The Godot game engine converts these detected mouse movement events into appropriate camera movements in the virtual scene,” the team added. “This setup allows the human user to test game environments and experiences using a standard computer mouse or touchpad, and use this VR system with any type treadmill control system that can be translated through a mouse emulator.”
As previously mentioned, Schaffer-Nishimura Laboratory downloaded instructions from GitHub so you can conduct your own behavioral research using custom VR technology. You will need some specific parts as well as access to a 3D printer. The team provides links to all necessary software, including the Raspberry Pi operating system and the Godot game engine.
For more information, visit here.
Image credit: Schaffer-Nishimura Laboratory