A new robot being developed by two Japanese firms, Nikkyo Technos and Yaskawa Electric can take care of a large number of mice and also work in tandem with other robots and monitoring systems to ensure efficient laboratory animal management.
Mice and other laboratory animals form the crucial element in research institutes, laboratories and pharmaceutical companies. These lab animals are extensively used for testing new medicines and other preparations to determine its efficacy and effects. Given the importance of mice in research, many large laboratories and institutes maintain anywhere between few hundreds to thousands of mice for research purposes.
These laboratory animals like mice are generally housed in laboratory animal facilities, where they are fed, monitored and cleaned at regular intervals, requiring a lot of time and manpower. Human interaction with these animals has to be strictly kept minimal as they may otherwise catch germs from humans and get infected and compromise the test results. The use of this new robot reduces the interaction between humans and lab animals.
The tasks carried out by the robot include cleaning the cages, changing water, refilling food etc. The newer version of the robot sports a mounted camera, making it possible to monitor the cages in real time and will also be able to measure the quantity of food left in the feeding trays and refill them accordingly. The robotic hand, with its gentle motions is capable of looking after 30,000 mice.