Anthony Visceglia's "Robotic Mouse"
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The "Robotic Mouse"

    With the list of endangered and extinct species expanding at a startling rate, the Animal Rights Protection Agency has been increasingly forward in its opposition to Government-sanctioned animal testing.  Meanwhile, scientists seek tirelessly for the secrets of the universe, contending that the sacrifice of one animal might serve the betterment of us all.  In an attempt to compromise, a Federal arbiter ordered the A.R.P.A. turn over to Wheeler Labs Research & Development Center a large percentage of its deformed or otherwise incapacitated mice to replace the comparatively healthy specimen previously employed in testing.

This is computer-driven mechanistic model of the first of many resulting experiments.

In protest of the arbiter’s compromise, Wheeler engineers have produced this mechanical model to demonstrate the problems associated with testing with defective mice.  A recreation of an actual experiment, the model sees a blind mouse attempt to navigate a maze.  Using the latest in computer interfacing and automation technologies, the engineers have produced a simplistic yet accurate depiction of how a blind mouse fails at labyrinthine negotiation.  The real-life struggles of the mouse have been carefully emulated by the programmers.   Such issues include:  a) Don’t Stop ‘Til You Drop,  b) The blind mouse continues in a straight path until it runs smack into a wall  (Using triggered sensors known as limit switches, this effect is easy to achieve),  c) Right Turn Tendency.  The blind mouse instinctively reacts to all abovementioned collisions by turning right – never left. As a result, certain mazes are more tedious to complete, while others are physically impossible. Programmers achieved this effect in their coding of the mouse’s movement.

As a result of the aforementioned issues, the mouse often ends up looping in circles through the maze, never really reaching the end. And even if it does, it does not see that it has done so, and will oftentimes turn back. In almost every simulation (as was the case in the real experiments), the mouse circles about the maze until it gets too tired to move.  In the end, Wheeler experts have presented a fine case for the oversight committee to consider. As one Wheeler R&D Expert said, “This clearly proves its best to kill the bad ones and test with the good ones.”