Viktor Tóth made a giant trackball and set his rat on top of it so it could enjoy running through the corridors of Doom.
TL;DR I built a VR setup for rodents from scratch and trained three rats in an automated fashion, without manual intervention, to traverse a corridor rendered in the DOOM II engine. Although I did implement the mechanisms to further train rats to shoot monsters in-game, I lacked the time to actually reinforce the behavior. The promise of the project is a relatively cheap (<$2000) VR setup that automatically trains rodents to traverse 3D environments without restraining them too much, while refraining from surgical procedures to provide the least stressful circumstances for them. Rodent VR rigs have had their presence in neuroscience experiments in the past; I hope to see more such studies to come! The following project aims to ease those experiments by automating some tasks of the experimenter.