“DOOM” (DOOM) has a pivotal position in the history of video games. The vast majority of human players have heard of it even if they haven’t played it before. When it comes to 2021, it seems that some scientists think it’s time for mice to play. Looked.
Viktor Tóth is a neuroengineer. He announced last month that he had built a unique VR device and trained three experimental rats (Long Evans) to play with the DOOM II engine through the device. “Doom”.
According to Viktor’s research records: “I built a VR device for the mice from the ground up, and trained the three mice in an automated mode without human intervention, and let them travel through the DOOM II gallery made by the DOOM II engine.”
This VR device has a large plastic ball equipped with a motion sensor. The mouse is fixed on the top of the ball with a safety belt. In front of the ball is a PC monitor. At the same time, there is a small tube in front of the mouse.
Whenever the rat makes the right action, the tube will release sugar water to train it to “walk” in the level of Doom. At the same time, an evil spirit is added to the level to train the rat to shoot.
“Although I did design further mechanisms to train mice to shoot monsters in the game, I didn’t have time to reinforce this learning behavior.”
Tóth explained: “Simply speaking, the training process is as follows: the mouse approaches the monster → the software detects that the monster is near the player (now assuming the player is facing it) → initially the mouse does not know what to do in this situation, so training The software triggers and pushes and pulls the solenoid to lift the mouse slightly → let it touch the button on the top of the actuator → the monster is killed → release sugar water rewards to enhance this behavior.”
Yes, these three 8-week-old mice have their own different personality expressions. Romero is quite fearless and rampant, Carmack likes clean and curious about the environment, and the last one is the “Doom” game designer Tom, named by Tom Hall, is shy, but he has the best learning ability.
Of course, Viktor’s goal is to use a short experiment to study that mice, like humans, have the same cognitive process interactions with changes in the environment. Whether the rats are really playing Doom is another question, because in the eyes of others, the rats act only for rewards.
Although the results were not as good as Viktor expected, he expressed his hope that VR devices can be used in the future to conduct more clinical experiments to record behaviors and cognitive nerves.
Those who are interested in watching Viktor’s research process can go to his personal blog to watch it (in English).