[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper presents the design and development of a bio-inspired mobile robot called WR-3 (Waseda Rat no. 3). The purpose of the robot is to work as an experimental tool to study social interaction between rats and robots. According to the results of the analysis of the motion of rats, their behavior can be divided into two phases: movement and interaction. Therefore, a novel hybrid mechanism that uses wheels during the movement phase and legs while interacting has been designed to actuate WR-3. Consequently, the robot can move at a high speed using its wheels, and reproduce the rat's interaction behavior using its legs and other parts. Based on body structure of a mature rat, WR-3 has been designed with similar dimensions and shape as a mature rat, and the quality of the shape imitation has been verified by the experiments of a rat's interestingness to the robot and stuffed rat. Evaluation experiments show that WR-3 is capable of reproducing a rat's actions such as chasing, rearing, grooming, mounting, etc., similar to a real rat. Furthermore, preliminary social interaction tests with living rats reveal that WR-3 is to some extent able to evoke natural reactions form a real rat and is therefore able to perform a certain level of realistic interaction.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · Advanced Robotics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The number of patients with mental disorders is increasing in advanced countries. Many researchers are working to develop mental disorder model animals that contribute to development of new psychotropic drugs. However, we have some doubts about conventional mental disorder models. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to develop an experimental setup to create novel mental disorder model animals. We then developed a small mobile robot and a control system for the robot. Using them, we performed an experiment to develop a mental disorder model rat. In the experiment, we succeeded in developing a new depression model rat and also high activity model rat. These disorder models must be useful in the screening of new psychotropic drugs. In addition, the methodology we developed in this research will contribute to clarifying mechanisms of mental disorders.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the domain of psychology and medical science, many experiments have been conducted referring to research on animal behaviors, to study the mechanism of mental disorders and to develop psychotropic drugs to treat them. Rodents such as rats are often chosen as experimental subjects in these experiments. However, according to some researchers, the experiments on social interactions using animals are poorly- reproducible. Therefore, we consider that the reproducibility of these experiments can be improved by using a robotic agent that interacts with an animal subject. We have developed a novel quadruped rat-inspired robot, the WR-2 (Waseda Rat No.2), based on the dimension and body structure of a mature rat. It is capable of reproducing the behaviors such as walking, mounting, rearing and grooming of the rat.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In psychology and basic medical science, many studies have been performed with experiments on animals such as rats and mice, to clarify mechanisms of mental disorders. With this aim, several ldquomental disorder modelrdquo rats and mice have been developed by genetic manipulation, giving psychotropic drugs, injuring their brain or breeding under special conditions. ldquoSocial interaction testrdquo is one of the experimental protocols to evaluate their appropriateness. However, this test is not popular because of lack of reproducibility. Thus, we consider the robotic agent that interacts with a rat/mouse in the social interaction test provides new opportunities to perform it under more strict conditions. We have then developed a quadruped animaroid, WR-1. WR-1 has four 3-DOF legs, 2-DOF waist and 1-DOF neck. WR-1 walks with both crawl and trot gait. WR-1 also reproduces rearing and head shake behavior. Size of WR-1 is larger and motion performance lower than those of a mature rat. However, in a social interaction test with a rat and WR-1, some social interactions were observed between them.