The M-Platform is a robotic device for mice that mimics a human robot device for upper limb stroke rehabilitation (the “arm-guide”) . This platform allows head-fixed mice to carry out intensive and highly repeatable exercises with the forelimb, specifically repeated sessions of forelimb retraction . The new upgrade of the M-Platform is the design of a component providing a variable level of friction to the slide (FIG 1).
To test the upgraded M-Platform, an experimental protocol has been designed. The experimental group consists of mice performing a two-weeks training with high friction (0.5N) which are compared to a control group (training with a lower friction (0.3N)). We measured also isometric force during the pulling performance. First results have shown higher isometric force and better performance for high-trained animals compared to controls (FIG 2).
This experiment has been designed not to use injured (e.g. stroke) animals but healthy ones. In this way a possible translation to the complete NRP model (comprising also the point neuron model simulating motor cortex and biomechanical model) should be more feasible.