P2.52 Thursday, Jan. 5 A Miniaturized Animal-Computer Interface for Use with Untethered Subjects SPRINGTHORPE, D.*; HEDRICK, T.L.; Univ. of California, Berkeley; Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill firstname.lastname@example.org
Neuromuscular and neurosensory recordings can offer substantial insight into animal behavior by permitting quantification of motor and sensory activation. However, traditional acquisition equipment often constrains the subject to a limited area or a specific posture. Though these constraints do not typically affect experiments negatively, they can frustrate investigations into neuro-activation in freely-behaving animals, particularly so in studies that involve obstacle navigation or flying subjects. To better enable these studies, we present and test a miniaturized animal-computer interface which permits simultaneous amplification, digitization, and real-time wireless transmission of two independent neuro-activation signals. Although this device was specifically developed for and tested with freely-flying Manduca sexta hawkmoths, the device's programmable features, which include variable gains, electrical stimulation capabilities and on-board data processing, make it suitable for a variety of subjects. Application of this device, especially in conjunction with videography to obtain biomechanical and behavioral data, may facilitate new experiments and permit further validation of current models of animal locomotion and sensing by enabling comparisons between model predictions and whole-animal observations across a wider range of behaviors than previously considered.