Infant-Rat Treadmill
This is a miniature treadmill for studying infant rats under the influence of various drugs. It was a collaboration at Idaho State University between me in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering and Michele Brumley in Neuroscience on a $164,000 NIH grant. My part was to design, build, and test the entire system. It's a whole lot less involved than the AquaDog treadmill, that's for sure. Oddly enough, commercial lab versions of these things costs thousands of dollars.
The (really) big brother of this project was the AquaDog treadmill.
This is the original proof of concept.
The second version is very similar. When I started to plan the actual fabrication, some of the design was dependent on available materials.
The prototype user interface to control the speed and acceleration. Apparently this is the cardio workout.
Looking for whatever might work in my gears and wheels box.
Time to machine the parts. The material is 3/8" and 1/2" Delrin — a joy to cut.
The rollers were turned by hand to the design specs.
It's like a little kit (rat not included). This whole thing took just an afternoon to fabricate. The stepper motor is from a broken hard drive.
All packaged and ready to be handed off to its new home.
And here's a little video of the first subject. The belt has been the trickiest part. The lab has experimented with various materials, but the main problem is that infant rats don't actually walk very consistently.
This one isn't mine (I think I'm out of the treadmill business now). It got bad press for being a waste of taxpayers' money from people who don't understand the point of science and research.