Automated mouse maze
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Automated Mouse Maze. Advisor: Dr. Michael McDonald Matthew Nichols Anand Krishnan. Project Definition. To develop a completely automated T Maze. Maze Usage. Mazes are used in learning experiments Can give insight such issues as: ADHD Alzheimer's disease Genetic alterations

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Automated mouse maze

Automated Mouse Maze

Advisor: Dr. Michael McDonald

Matthew Nichols

Anand Krishnan

Project definition
Project Definition

  • To develop a completely automated T Maze

Maze usage
Maze Usage

  • Mazes are used in learning experiments

  • Can give insight such issues as:

    • ADHD

    • Alzheimer's disease

    • Genetic alterations

    • Brain Damage

Maze usage1
Maze Usage

  • Mazes are used to compare response of control mice to test mice

  • Test mice can be genetically, surgically, chemically, or naturally altered.

  • The data from the two sets of mice is collected and compared.

T maze concept
T Maze Concept

  • Control mice are taught to follow a pattern in the maze

  • Food or water is used as reward

  • Test mice are then taught to follow same pattern with same reward

  • The response is the time it takes each set of mice to learn the pattern and how long they can remember their path


  • How long a mouse is held in an arm

  • Food or water can be used interchangeably

  • Different mice with different conditions can be used

Why automate
Why Automate

  • T Maze concept originally developed using rats

  • Rats like to be handled, mice do not

  • Mice soon learn that if they just sit there, they will not be handled


  • Computer used to track mice, open doors, dispense food and water, and collect data.

  • Mouse only needs to be handled to start and stop the maze

Added benefits of automation
Added Benefits of Automation

  • Frees up the researcher in lengthy test

  • Reduces human error in tracking mouse

  • Data can be stored automatically

Why design the maze
Why Design The Maze

  • Automated mazes are commercially available, but not in T maze design

  • T shape necessary for certain learning experiments

Market potential
Market Potential

  • Psychology and animal research departments at major universities and private bio-tech companies

  • Vanderbilt, Brown, Princeton, and many other universities are currently involved in maze projects

Key steps
Key Steps

  • Research computer device interaction

  • Research automated doors, feeders, etc…

  • Build all necessary circuits to interact with the computer

  • Write the software to control the maze

  • To test the maze to ensure data can be collected

Major obstacles
Major Obstacles

  • Computer and Device I/O

  • Tracking the mouse

  • Mouse behavior

  • Simple computer interface

Maze construction and design
Maze Construction and Design

  • Digital I/O card used for computer device interface

  • Infrared sensors used to track the mouse

  • Commercially available automated doors will be used

  • Software will written in Visual Basic

Data storage
Data Storage

  • Data will be stored in a spread sheet format

  • Time it takes mouse to run maze and error rate will be recorded

Current progress
Current Progress

  • Physical maze constructed

  • Digital I/O card installed

  • Maze Control Cards Constructed

  • Program Half Way complated

Sticking points
Sticking Points


  • Unexpected mice activity

Future work
Future Work

  • Use 1 computer controls multiple mazes

  • Increase the number of test patterns the mouse could run