The Spiny Mouse Selfie

The spiny mouse is the only known mammal capable of regenerating tissue to the skin, ear, skeletal muscle, kidney, spinal cord, heart, and brain. The unique regenerative properties of the spiny mouse have made it popular in research. However, when observing the mouse and how fast its tissue has healed, researchers are forced to either a) hold the mouse gently in a towel or b) administer isoflurane anesthesia to the mouse. Holding the mouse can be an issue because the skin of the spiny mouse is 8 times more delicate than human skin and is prone to tearing easily. This method also only allows observations to the head area, since holding the mouse can be difficult. Administrating isoflurane anesthesia has been shown to cause distress to other mammals, which may delay the healing process and give inaccurate results. Because of this, the Macro Mice team is partnering with Dr. Malcolm Maden and Dr. Justin Varholick in the UF Department of Biology to create a housing unit that will take a picture of the healing hole of the spiny mouse and measure that hole as the mouse eats. This system, the Spiny Mouse Selfie, will hopefully give other researchers a cheap and easy way to study the regenerative properties of the spiny mouse. 

Image of the Spiny Mouse courtesy of: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d8/Common_spiny_mouse_cropped.jpg

Where we are now: We have clarified more specifications about the hardware we are going to use to capture this data, but we still need to do more research before we reach a definite conclusion on what parts we are going to use. We are currently looking into PixyCams, the IMX2019, and Raspberry Pis. We are also looking into the Raspberry Pi’s compatibility with OpenCV, a popular image processing library that we could use.  

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