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Large Spherical Treadmill for Rodents

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Large Spherical Treadmill for Rodents

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About the Innovation

Recent advances in the use of awake, head-fixed preparation for small rodents (e.g., rats and mice) have led to an array of new interactive tools for studying brain and behavior. Here we present a method for creating large, lightweight spherical treadmills of arbitrary size. To accommodate different treadmill sizes, we provide a sparse, point-based floatation mechanism that is highly scalable. 

For mice (8-12 wk, 20-30 g), we present a 16” (40.64 cm, approx. 65-70 g) diameter spherical treadmill. For young-adult rats (3-8 wk, 60-150 g), we present a 24” (60.96 cm, approx. 225-275 g) diameter system. 

Features & Benefits:

  • A larger spherical diameter creates a flatter treadmill surface area that allows for a more comfortable animal. It positively promotes the expression of natural behaviors (sleeping, resting, grooming, and goal-directed walking and running).
  • The point-based floatation system reduces oscillations in airflow around the treadmill and provides excellent stability under different behavioral and recording conditions.
  • The point-based floatation and minimal frame design accommodate well for slight irregularities and differences between the size of individual spherical treadmills.
  • The point-based floatation system reduces airflow and system volume  
  • The minimal frame design allows for increased access to the lower half of the treadmill surface for motion-tracking and other potential manipulations


Free to make for Non-Profit Research by downloading designs at Flintbox link at the right.

Rights and designs available for Commercial License.

For inquiries, please reference:

Janelia 2012-019

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Michael Perham
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