'Virtual reality' for mice to aid neural research

A tactile, virtual reality (VR) system for mice has been created by researchers at the HHMI Janelia Research Campus in Virginia, USA.

The system uses a pair of movable walls to "tickle" the whiskers on each side of a mouse's face. By moving the walls in the shape of a virtual tunnel the mice can be tricked into thinking they are inside the real thing. 

The team hope that the research will eventually help us understand our own brains better, including diseases such as Alzheimer's.

By using VR systems like this the research team say they "can get more data and higher quality data from each animal and thereby reduce the number of animals we need to use in experiments".

BBC Click's Stephen Beckett spoke to researcher Nicholas Sofroniew about the system

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