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Automation of the fear conditioning test requires accurate detection of freezing episodes and flexible and intuitive control of the shocker and cues

ANY-maze has these requirements covered. Freezing detection is sensitive and robust, while procedures provide a simple but powerful mechansim for controlling equipment - you'll find all the details on the Benefits tab below.

On the other tabs you'll find some videos of fear conditioning tests, as well as details of recommended equipment and a list of results that are especially useful in this test.

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Sensitive scoring of freezing episodes

ANY-maze detects freezing by looking for changes in the video images which are caused by something other than image ‘noise’.

Image noise is that flickering of dots which gets worse in low light, and the fact that ANY-maze ignores it, means it can detect freezing even in quite noisy images. This is important as fear conditioning tests are quite often performed in low light or darkness.

Watch the video on the right to see freezing detection in action.

ANY-maze can directly control fear conditioning equipment

Fear conditioning typically uses foot shocks as an aversive stimulus and by using the ANY‑maze Relay interface (pictured here), ANY-maze is able to control most shockers available today.

Furthermore, the ANY‑maze Audio interface provides six sound channels, which can be used to generate cue tones. It can also control lights to create visual cues.

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Defining fear conditioning protocols

ANY-maze procedures provide an straightforward, yet powerful, way to define fear conditioning protocols.

Procedures use a simple drag-and-drop interface to build up a series of commands. For example, the procedure on the right will repeat the following sequence 10 times: Wait 30 seconds, play a tone, wait 5 seconds, apply a shock. (The duration of the tone and of the shock are set elsewhere).

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Running multiple tests simultaneously

Running multiple tests simultaneously is a great way to speed up the throughput in an experiment.

  • Setting up multiple cages is hardly any more work than setting up one, as most settings are automatically applied across all the apparatus.
  • Tests in all the apparatus can be run independently, or you can control them together if you prefer.
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