VIDEO: Mice get virtual reality video game
Mice have been given access to a first-person-shooter style virtual reality video game that has sparked fears that they may rise up and enslave the human population of the earth.
Just kidding. The real objective behind the study is to have a good look at neurological activity in animals that are moving. Normally it's quite tricky to stick electrodes in the brain of an animal that's running about all over the place. Now the scientists can study real-motion tracking of single neurons.
"The neurons move back and forth while you're trying to measure things", said David Tank, a neuroscientist at Princeton University. "So we developed a way to keep the head fixed in space, but still have mice perform behaviours that are usually studied in mice running through a maze".
The virtual world that the mice are running through was designed in the Quake level editor, but the mice didn't get weapons or ammo - they got little sips of water from a head height water tube instead. We'll stick with Left 4 Dead for now, we think.