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Inertial Measurement of Head Tilt in Rodents: Principles and Applications to Vestibular Research

Abstract : Inertial sensors are increasingly used in rodent research, in particular for estimating head orientation relative to gravity, or head tilt. Despite this growing interest, the accuracy of tilt estimates computed from rodent head inertial data has never been assessed. Using readily available inertial measurement units mounted onto the head of freely moving rats, we benchmarked a set of tilt estimation methods against concurrent 3D optical motion capture. We show that, while low-pass filtered head acceleration signals only provided reliable tilt estimates in static conditions, sensor calibration combined with an appropriate choice of orientation filter and parameters could yield average tilt estimation errors below 1.5∘ during movement. We then illustrate an application of inertial head tilt measurements in a preclinical rat model of unilateral vestibular lesion and propose a set of metrics describing the severity of associated postural and motor symptoms and the time course of recovery. We conclude that headborne inertial sensors are an attractive tool for quantitative rodent behavioral analysis in general and for the study of vestibulo-postural functions in particular.
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Contributor : Guillaume Dugué Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Friday, October 29, 2021 - 12:45:03 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, August 6, 2022 - 3:46:26 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Monday, January 31, 2022 - 9:35:38 AM


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Romain Fayat, Viviana Delgado Betancourt, Thibault Goyallon, Mathieu Petremann, Pauline Liaudet, et al.. Inertial Measurement of Head Tilt in Rodents: Principles and Applications to Vestibular Research. Sensors, MDPI, 2021, 21 (18), pp.6318. ⟨10.3390/s21186318⟩. ⟨hal-03408787⟩



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