While in Kyoto, I traveled to Doshisha University to visit the lab of Dr. Takahashi, who worked with O’Hara to design the Free Maze, a reconfigurable maze for learning and memory tests.

Me with Dr. Takahashi at Doshisha University

Dr. Takahashi studies hippocampal place cell activity in mice and rats, and wanted to build a maze system that he could easily change in order to understand how place cells adapt to changes in environments.

According to Dr. Takahashi, “The Free Maze was designed to be flexible, reliable, and repeatable.”
“We built this maze in order to design a system where users could build their own tasks to their own specifications, change maze designs rapidly, and reconfigure previous designs easily.”

For his research, Dr. Takahashi records population activity of hippocampal place cells in freely moving rats as they navigate through the Free Maze.

The Free Maze is an extremely unique product. It’s like legos for scientists!

The original paper detailing the Free Maze is currently under review and should be available soon.

The Free Maze for Rats

Next stop – Tokyo Medical and Dental University