Behavior in the lab and in the field

Striatech's InsectBall, developed by Hansjürgen Dahmen at the University of Tübingen, is an air-cusioned treadmill with robust design. It is light-weight and portable. It can be used indoors in the lab, but just as easily in the field. This allows studying insect navigation and locomotion in their natural habitat. 


Features and Applications

  • Natural locomotion

    Extremely light-weight styrofoam ball allows animal to perform locomotion with natural acceleration, deceleration and orienting. Improved tethering allows natural posture and full degree of motion.

  • Robust hardware, flexible use

    Easy to transport, easy to set up: use in the natural habitat of your research model.

  • Available for different species

    Different sizes suitable for different research organisms: Drosophila, Ants, Bees, Cockroaches, Locusts, …

  • Open- or closed-loop configuration

    Open-loop: Animal orientation is fixed in real-world coordinates, animal rotation is reflected as rotation of the ball. Good for experiments that include other equipment (air puffs, olfactory cues, visual stimuli, simultaneous physiological recordings, …).
    Closed-loop: Animal can freely rotate around its yaw axis. This allows the animal to react in a natural way to environmental cues.

Examples for use

Using the InsectBall for studying the homing behavior of desert ants in their natural habitat: Dahmen et al (2017)