Touch Panel: Automated Operant Chamber

Automated behavioral testing systems enabling real-time measurements of neural activity with unprecedented precision. 

IR sensor technology improves accuracy of touch responses during operant behavior.

Touch screen methods have become both an efficient and powerful tool to test cognition and other operant behavior in mice and rats. Our Touch Panel operant chamber is fully automated with unique infrared (IR) sensors located at the top right and top left corners of the 15-inch touch screen. The IR sensors greatly improve the accuracy of recorded touch responses because there is no minimum force requirement to detect a response. Additionally, the Operant TaskStudio software, users can easily create their own operant behavior tests, and switch between a variety of different tasks within a single session.

  • IR sensor technology improves the sensitivity of detected touch responses from mice and rats, improving the quality and reliability of your data.
  • Fully automated hardware and software improves the efficiency of data collection and removes experimenter bias.
  • The unique trapezoidal design makes it easier for mice and rats to focus on the desired task, decreasing learning time.
  • Compatible with neural recording techniques.
  • Also compatible for monkeys/humans

How it works : What’s unique about the Touch Panel Operant Chamber

The Touch Panel IR technology is more accurate than other touch technology for mice and rats. The IR sensors within the touchscreen require no minimum activation force, meaning mice and rats do not have to push the screen in order register a response. The touch screen technology that is in our smart phones (projective or electrostatic capacitance) for example,  is not sensitive enough to detect touches from small rodents like mice, generating a lot of erroneous data. With the Touch Panel technology, users can expect to decrease both the rate of false negatives and false positives, which greatly improves response accuracy.

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Response speed: 10 msec (100 point/sec)
Interface: USB 1.1 or more
Power: 5V USB bus power (around 1.5W)
Accessory: sensitivity adjustment driver
Size – touch surface: 335 (W) x 255 (H) mm
Size – whole: 356 (W) x 310 (D) x 8 (t) mm

What is electrostatic capacitance?

This is the technology our smartphones use. It is sensitive enough to be detected by the human finger, however, not sensitive enough to detect noke pokes by small rodents like rats or mice. 

The Touch Panel Operant system uses photobeam IR technology which greatly improves the sensitivity of response detection.

Gallery

Components

Software

Task Control Software | OperantTaskStudio V2

Operant TaskStudio is a suite of software applications that enable you to visually design and run behavior experiments. Operant TaskStudio can be configured easily to work with your hardware setup.

  • Development language: C++
  • OS: Windows 7 Professional, Windows 10 Professional
  • Operant Task Executor
    Operant task executor supports the execution of one or more trials sequentially or randomly. Trails designed by the Trail Builder are selected for execution. 

    Task Scheduler File

    A task scheduler file is a task file designed by the Operant TaskStudio Software V2. 

    • Trial Builder: Design Task
      Trial builder software is used to visually design a task scheduler file for your operant tests.
      Every action of the operant test can be selected from the action palette on the left hand side and dragged into the main space into a flowchart. Each action can be linked with connectors to trigger a sequence of events.
      Trial builder also allows you to easily configure external triggers that need to be performed when the specified event occurs.  For example, a cue sound when a reward is given.

    Applications

    Learning and memory

    Attention

    Motivation / Reward

    Addiction

    Neurodegeneration

    Task Examples:

    Two-Choice Visual Discrimination Task:

    This task involves learning that one of the two shapes displayed on the screen is correct. Touching the correct stimuli is rewarded and touching the incorrect stimuli is punished with a timeout where the mouse or rat cannot start another trial. Once the mouse or rat learns the correct stimuli, they are reversed so that the previously rewarded stimuli now results in punishment. This type of reversal learning requires the mouse or rat to inhibit automatic responses that require the prefrontal cortex.

    Paired Associate Learning (PAL)

    In this task, mice or rats learn and remember which of three objects goes in which of three spatial locations. On each trial, two different objects are presented; one is in the correct location; the other in the incorrect location. The rat or mouse must choose which stimulus is in the correct location. This task relies on the hippocampus and can be used to test hippocampal dysfunction as seen in Alzheimer’s disease.

    Visuomotor Conditional Learning (VMCL)

    This task is a stimulus-response task. The rat or mouse must learn that two stimuli go with two different locations. When stimulus A is presented the rat or mouse must always respond to location A. If stimulus B is presented, the rat or mouse must always respond to location B. This type of test is useful for Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease.

    5-Choice Serial Reaction Time (5CSRT)

    This task requires the rodent to respond to a brief visual stimuli presented randomly in one of 5 locations. It is used to measure attention span in mice and rats.

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