Journal article:
Virtual reality for freely moving animals

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Date
October 2017
Editors
Stowers, John R.
Hofbauer, Maximilian
Griessner, Johannes
Higgins, Peter
Farooqui, Sarfarazhussain
Fischer, Ruth M.
Tessmar-Raible, Kristin
Straw, Andrew D.
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Abstract
Standard animal behavior paradigms incompletely mimic nature and thus limit our understanding of behavior and brain function. Virtual reality (VR) can help, but it poses challenges. Typical VR systems require movement restrictions but disrupt sensorimotor experience, causing neuronal and behavioral alterations. We report the development of FreemoVR, a VR system for freely moving animals. We validate immersive VR for mice, flies, and zebrafish. FreemoVR allows instant, disruption-free environmental reconfigurations and interactions between real organisms and computer-controlled agents. Using the FreemoVR platform, we established a height-aversion assay in mice and studied visuomotor effects in Drosophila and zebrafish. Furthermore, by photorealistically mimicking zebrafish we discovered that effective social influence depends on a prospective leader balancing its internally preferred directional choice with social interaction. FreemoVR technology facilitates detailed investigations into neural function and behavior through the precise manipulation of sensorimotor feedback loops in unrestrained animals.
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570 Biosciences, Biology
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Nature methods ; 14 (2017), 10. - pp. 995-1002. - ISSN 1548-7091. - eISSN 1548-7105
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Cite This
ISO 690STOWERS, John R., Maximilian HOFBAUER, Renaud BASTIEN, Johannes GRIESSNER, Peter HIGGINS, Sarfarazhussain FAROOQUI, Ruth M. FISCHER, Iain D. COUZIN, Kristin TESSMAR-RAIBLE, Andrew D. STRAW, 2017. Virtual reality for freely moving animals. In: Nature methods. 14(10), pp. 995-1002. ISSN 1548-7091. eISSN 1548-7105. Available under: doi: 10.1038/nmeth.4399
BibTex
@article{Stowers2017-10Virtu-40882,
  year={2017},
  doi={10.1038/nmeth.4399},
  title={Virtual reality for freely moving animals},
  number={10},
  volume={14},
  issn={1548-7091},
  journal={Nature methods},
  pages={995--1002},
  author={Stowers, John R. and Hofbauer, Maximilian and Bastien, Renaud and Griessner, Johannes and Higgins, Peter and Farooqui, Sarfarazhussain and Fischer, Ruth M. and Couzin, Iain D. and Tessmar-Raible, Kristin and Straw, Andrew D.}
}
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