The RELevator


Place cells, a type of pyramidal neuron in the hippocampus, have long been known to alter their firing patterns when a rodent enters a specific location in its environment, a spatial region referred to as that cell’s respective place field. While well studied along the x and y axes, there is an apparent lack of evidence supporting the idea that movement along the third dimension, the z axis, would produce similar fluctuations in neural activity. This has been shown to be true in bats, which logically follows, considering the importance of the z axis in flight. Yet, it seems illogical that rodents do not possess any sort of sensitivity in regards to the z axis, seeing as rodents are capable of perceiving depth, in addition to distance along the x and y axes.

What I did with it

To provide a novel multidimensional experimental paradigm to explore the dimensionality of rodent hippocampal place cells, we presented the Rodent Elevator (RELevator). Development for the semi-autonomous control system required hardware (electrical and mechanical) and software co-design, utilizing a Raspberry Pi and several Arduinos. To access the GitHub repository, click here!


A more detailed report on the development and applications of the RELevator.


My presentation at the Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium.