Scientists have taken virtual reality to a whole new level by creating special goggles for mice that allow them to experience the thrill of being attacked by a bird. Yes, you read that right! These tiny bespectacled rodents now have the chance to feel what it's like to be hunted while running on a treadmill during experiments.
These unique goggles, known as Miniature Rodent Stereo Illumination VR (iMRSIV), have been specially designed to fit the mice perfectly. They consist of two lenses and two screens, which create an immersive 3D experience for the mice. Instead of seeing the outside world, they are transported to a different place altogether.
Unlike the headsets humans wear, which cover our entire heads, these goggles sit right in front of the mouse's face. This allows for a more comfortable fit and ensures that the mice can fully immerse themselves in the virtual world.
The researchers, hailing from Northwestern University in Illinois, believe that by simulating the mouse's natural environment, they can gain a better understanding of their behavior. Previous attempts to create virtual experiences for mice only involved flat screens that surrounded them. These screens lacked depth perception and still allowed the mice to see glimpses of the laboratory.
With these new goggles, the mice can run faster on the treadmill or freeze in fear, just as they would in real life when faced with a bird of prey. It's a fascinating and fun way for scientists to study the intricate reactions and instincts of these small creatures.
So, next time you think virtual reality is reserved only for humans, remember that mice are joining in on the fun too! Who knows what other exciting adventures await them in the world of virtual reality?