The Virtual Reality - Jet Ball is a novel virtual reality experimental system. It is based on an air supported spherical treadmill. It allows a body restrained rodent (mouse, rat) to navigate in virtual space. Virtual reality provides a perfectly controllable experimental environment. It can be used for investigating navigation, cognition, learning and memory. Awake, head-restrained animals can be examined with electro- or opto-physiological methods while the animal performs complex behaviours.
A large range of brain circuits can be stimulated through multi-modal stimulation. The available sensory modalities include visual, acoustic, tactile and olfactory stimuli. Reinforcement feedback can be given through positive (sugar water) or negative (air puff) reinforcement. Operant behaviour and emotional responses can be examined. Animals can be head-restrained for physiological approaches or kept in a body-harness for a larger degree of freedom of movement.