Navigation of a Freely Walking Fruit Fly in Infinite Space Using a Transparent Omnidirectional Locomotion Compensator (TOLC)

Pikam Pun

Jacobs Brown

Tyler Cobb

Robert J. Wessells

Dal Hyung Kim

Abstract: Animal behavior is an essential element in behavioral neuroscience study. However, most behavior studies in small animals such as fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) have been performed in a limited spatial chamber or by tethering the fly’s body on a fixture, which restricts its natural behavior. In this paper, we developed the Transparent Omnidirectional Locomotion Compensator (TOLC) for a freely walking fruit fly without tethering, which enables its navigation in infinite space. The TOLC maintains a position of a fruit fly by compensating its motion using the transparent sphere. The TOLC is capable of maintaining the position error < 1 mm for 90.3% of the time and the heading error < 5◦ for 80.2% of the time. The inverted imaging system with a transparent sphere secures the space for an additional experimental apparatus. Because the proposed TOLC allows us to observe a freely walking fly without physical tethering, there is no potential injury during the experiment. Thus, the TOLC will offer a unique opportunity to investigate longitudinal studies of a wide range of behavior in an unrestricted walking Drosophila.

… axis. To prevent a fruit fly from flying, we created a fly chamber on top of the sphere with a limited height (2 mm) using the cover glass (Brain Research Laboratory, Waban, MA, USA, 4550-1D) to let a fly walk in the chamber …

Original Article