LED Matrix Stimuli

Jul 8, 2021

Visual stimuli are used in a variety of behavioral neuroscience studies including those on perception, cognition, learning, memory, and decision-making. The visual stimulus is often the presence or location of illumination. Visual cues can range from a single lightbulb or LED to commercial LCD screens or touch screens. Both of these approaches have disadvantages. A single illumination does not allow for the manipulation of multiple parameters of the visual stimuli. While touchscreens can present complex manipulations, these systems are often costly. An alternative approach is described by Kyra Swanson, Samantha White, and colleagues, as reported in a recent Open Source Methods paper at eNeuro: https://www.eneuro.org/content/8/3/ENEURO.0563-20.2021 

The team designed a highly modifiable visual stimulus presentation platform that can be combined with a 3D-printed operant response device. Their open-source device consists of three LED matrices that can be independently controlled via an open-source microcontroller–Arduino Uno. Implementing their platform design is low-cost <$70 USD. The authors demonstrate the validity of the device using 8 × 8 matrices of LEDs mounted above nose pokes to examine the perceptual decision-making in rats. However, their device is highly modifiable and can be used in a number of behavioral studies. These matrices allow for the presentation of a variety of complex visual patterns and dynamically changing stimuli. A 3D printed frame is available that can be used to mount the matrices in a variety of locations in a behavioral chamber, such as above nose poke ports or reward spouts. Designs for printing these accessory devices are available in the GitHub account for the project. https://github.com/LaubachLab/LED-matrices

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