High-precision, three-dimensional tracking of mouse whisker movements with optical motion capture technology

Snigdha Roy, Jerí L. Bryant, Ying Cao, Detlef Heck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The mystacial vibrissae or whiskers in rodents are sensitive tactile hairs emerging from both sides of the face. Rats and mice actively move these whiskers during exploration. The neuronal mechanisms controlling whisker movements and the sensory representation of whisker tactile information are widely studied as a model for sensorimotor processing in mammals. Studies of the natural whisker movement patterns during exploration and tactile examination are still in their early stages. Tracking the movements of whiskers is technically challenging as they move relatively fast and are very thin, particularly in mice. Existing systems detect light-beam interruptions by the whiskers or use high-speed video to track whisker movements in one or two-dimensions. Here we describe a method for tracking the movements of mouse whiskers in three-dimensions (3D) using optical motion capture technology (OMCT). OMCT tracks the movements of small retro-reflective markers attached to whiskers of a head-fixed mouse with a spatial resolution of <0.5 mm in all 3D and a temporal resolution of 5 ms (200 fps). The system stores the 3D coordinates of the marker's trajectories onto hard disk allowing a detailed analysis of movement trajectories bilateral coordination. The described method currently uses the minimum of two tracking cameras, which requires head-fixation for reliable tracking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFrontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
Issue numberJUNE
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2011

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Vibrissae
Technology
Touch
Head
Mammals
Rodentia

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this

High-precision, three-dimensional tracking of mouse whisker movements with optical motion capture technology. / Roy, Snigdha; Bryant, Jerí L.; Cao, Ying; Heck, Detlef.

In: Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, No. JUNE, 01.06.2011.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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