System for measuring rodents' visual function: design and implementation
Carlos Perez-Vidal, Alejandro Garcia, Nicolas Garcia-Aracil, Jose M. Sabater, Eduardo Fernandez
 ISSN:1016-2372  DOI:10.4015/S1016237214500185  - Vol. 26 pp. 1-10


The aim of the work presented in this paper is the design, manufacturing and assembling of a system able to measure rodents' (mice and rats) visual function and to study the evolution of degenerative retina diseases. Measurement of contrast sensitivity and visual acuity is essential to design new drugs and understand mechanisms of visual develop- ment to evaluate treatments' eŽectiveness. Classical methods to study visual perception of animals such as electro- retinogram (ERG) or histological analysis are not supplying enough information because connection between eyes and brain is not considered. The system proposed in this work consists of four screens forming a cube with black meth- acrylate plastic °oor and roof. Screens display visual stimulus and the rodent's behaviour (placed over a platform in the middle of the cube) is analized to determine its visual acuity and contrast sensitivity. These visual stimuli are generated from a FPGA board designed in this project. This board has a USB link with a computer and it controls screens via VGA signals. Rodents' behaviour is analized using computer vision algorithms under OpenCV libraries. To test the system, more than 30 mice (C57 and RD10 type) have been used to validate the hardware, the software, the procedure and protocol.