of raspberry pi It’s a great tool for fun projects and hobbies, but it’s also a popular choice in the professional arena.So is the case with this project from the team at Schaffer-Nishimura Laboratory (opens in new tab)Using a Raspberry Pi they built a custom VR headset (opens in new tab) To support neuroscience research involving mice.
The headset is small enough to fit on your mouse head and has two SPI displays. These screens display custom worlds designed using the open source Godot game engine. A custom map was created with the example photo showing the grid texture on the ground. There are cliffs, edges, and other obstacles that mice can encounter as needed for neuroscience research.
The idea behind the system is to create a virtual world where teams can study mouse behavior given the challenges and capabilities of digital maps. A headset can be fixed to the head of a mouse that can navigate virtual environments using a custom treadmill. Just as the mouse moves in the real world, so does the virtual world that the mouse explores in real time.
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The team uses a Raspberry PI 4 to power the system. They also 3D printed a case to mount eyepieces for the Pi and display module. Fresnel lenses are also used within each display. According to the official documentation, the display resolution is 240 x 210px. The treadmill consists of a Styrofoam ball on which the mouse can stand, and is monitored by optical sensors to determine the direction and speed of movement.
In terms of software, everything runs on the Pi, including the Godot video game engine. They developed a custom display driver to take the Godot video feed, process it, and output it to each eye display as needed for the VR headset.
If you’d like to see this Raspberry Pi project or recreate it yourself, check out the official project page: GitHub (opens in new tab)The team details its construction and the software used to implement the VR effects into the headset.