Operant running Wheel

The rotation of an activity wheel is controlled by an automatic break. The food and drink consumption is measured and may be regulated in spontaneous exercise tasks.

Operant running Wheel

The running wheel is in this system considered as part of the accessories of a polymodal cage. A break may allow or prevent the wheel from turning. As all the other components of our apparatus, the wheel can be activated and deactivated according to a specific behavior output (nosepoke visits, locomotor activity, food or liquid consumption,…) or clocks.


The Operant running wheel apparatus can be mounted on a mobile aluminum trolley, and it is equipped with:

  • a ventilated wooden cubicle,
  • a square cage,
  • a frame of infrared beams, to measure the animal locomotion,
  • 4 nosepokes and cue-lights,
  • an activity wheel, which is located on the back side of the cage. The rotation of the wheel is controlled by an automatic break,
  • a pellet dispenser and a feeding trough, which is equipped with a visit detector,
  • a drinking trough, which is equipped with a lickmeter.

Roue          2 cages



The software (running on Windows) can manage up to 30 cages simultaneously and independently.

It allows :

  • the datation and recording of all the events,
  • an independent management of the experiment in each apparatus: control of the actuators (lights, levers, wheel’s break, sound,…) and interpretation of the sensors,
  • a user-friendly edition of task schedules, the establishment of a library of exercises,
  • the graphical display of the behavioral events,
  • conducting several days long experiments

A software module, which is dedicated to managing data files, allows:

  • the definition of customized output variables
  • the calculation of the numbers of events, times, kinetics, events which are conditioned by other events, etc,
  • the calculation of output variables from a great number of recorded files simultaneously,
  • the display of output variables in a Microsoft Excel compatible file.


Coupling with Electrophysiology / Optogenetics

We propose solutions to couple the analysis of the behavior with electrophysiological recordings and optogenetic activation.


We propose:


We developed:

  • a rotation and rearing compensator, compatible with any optical commutator,
  • a device to activate lasers. This accessory sends electric signals up to 500Hz. The experimenter decides the exact moment according to clocks or behavioral outputs at which a customized train of pulses may be sent to the laser to specifically activate the targeted bunch of neurons.