Li Liu, Zi-Yang Wang, Yu Liu, Chun Xu. An Immersive Virtual Reality System for Rodents in Behavioral and Neural Research. International Journal of Automation and Computing, vol. 18, no. 5, pp.838-848, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11633-021-1307-y
Citation: Li Liu, Zi-Yang Wang, Yu Liu, Chun Xu. An Immersive Virtual Reality System for Rodents in Behavioral and Neural Research. International Journal of Automation and Computing, vol. 18, no. 5, pp.838-848, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11633-021-1307-y

An Immersive Virtual Reality System for Rodents in Behavioral and Neural Research

doi: 10.1007/s11633-021-1307-y
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  • Author Bio:

    Li Liu received the B. Sc. degree in mechatronic engineering from Hebei University of Science and Technology, China in 2001. She was awarded senior engineer by Beijing Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau, China in 2015. Currently, she is a developer at Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China. Her research interests include virtual reality and brain cognition. E-mail: li_liu@ia.ac.cnORCID iD: 0000-0002-9436-7035

    Zi-Yang Wang received the B. Sc. degree in electronic information science and technology from China Agricultural University, China in 2013, and the Ph. D. degree in agricultural electrification and automation from China Agricultural University, China in 2019. Currently, he is a post-doctor at Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China. His research interests include electrical signals processing, electrophysiology, brain-computer interface, and cognitive assessment.E-mail: ziyang.wang@ia.ac.cnORCID iD: 0000-0003-2161-7504

    Yu Liu received the B. Sc. degree in automation, the M. Sc. degree in pattern recognition and intelligent systems, from Beijing Institute of Technology, China in 2001 and 2004, respectively, and the Ph. D. degree in pattern recognition and intelligent systems from Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China in 2010. He is currently a professor of Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China. His research interests include artificial intelligence and cognitive assessment.E-mail: yu.liu@ia.ac.cn (Corresponding author)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5951-8478

    Chun Xu received the B. Sc. degree in biology from Xiamen University, China in 2003, and the Ph. D. degree in neurobiology from Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China in 2009. He conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Andreas Lüthi in the Friedrich Miescher Institute, Switzerland in 2009−2016. He joined Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China as a principal investigator in January 2017. He is the head of the Laboratory of Neurobiology of Context and Behavior, Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China. His research interests include context perception, spatial navigation and emotional memory.E-mail: chun.xu@ion.ac.cn (Corresponding author)

  • Received Date: 2021-01-07
  • Accepted Date: 2021-05-12
  • Available Online: 2021-09-08
  • Publish Date: 2021-10-01
  • Context cognition involves abstractly deriving meaning from situational information in the world and is an important psychological function of higher cognition. However, due to the complexity of contextual information processing, along with the lack of relevant technical tools, little remains known about the neural mechanisms and behavioral regulation of context cognition. At present, behavioral training with rodents using virtual reality techniques is considered a potential key for uncovering the neurobiological mechanisms of context cognition. Although virtual reality technology has been preliminarily applied in the study of context cognition in recent years, there remains a lack of virtual scenario integration of multi-sensory information, along with a need for convenient experimental design platforms for researchers who have little programming experience. Therefore, in order to solve problems related to the authenticity, immersion, interaction, and flexibility of rodent virtual reality systems, an immersive virtual reality system based on visual programming was constructed in this study. The system had the ability to flexibly modulate rodent interactive 3D dynamic experimental environments. The system included a central control unit, virtual perception unit, virtual motion unit, virtual vision unit, and video recording unit. The neural circuit mechanisms in various environments could be effectively studied by combining two-photon imaging and other neural activity recording methods. In addition, to verify the proposed system′s performance, licking experiments were conducted with experimental mice. The results demonstrated that the system could provide a new method and tool for analyzing the neural circuits of the higher cognitive functions in rodents.

     

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