Conveyance of texture signals along a rat whisker

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Oladazimi, M., Putelat, T., Szalai, R., Noda, K., Shimoyama, I., Champneys, A. and Schwarz, C. 2021. Conveyance of texture signals along a rat whisker. Scientific Reports. 11, p. 13570.

AuthorsOladazimi, M., Putelat, T., Szalai, R., Noda, K., Shimoyama, I., Champneys, A. and Schwarz, C.

Neuronal activities underlying a percept are constrained by the physics of sensory signals. In the tactile sense such constraints are frictional stick-slip events, occurring, amongst other vibrotactile features, when tactile sensors are in contact with objects. We reveal new biomechanical phenomena about the transmission of these microNewton forces at the tip of a rat’s whisker, where they occur, to the base where they engage primary afferents. Using high resolution videography and accurate measurement of axial and normal forces at the follicle, we show that the conical and curved rat whisker acts as a sign-converting amplification filter for moment to robustly engage primary afferents. Furthermore, we present a model based on geometrically nonlinear Cosserat rod theory and a friction model that recreates the observed whole-beam whisker dynamics. The model quantifies the relation between kinematics (positions and velocities) and dynamic variables (forces and moments). Thus, only videographic assessment of acceleration is required to estimate forces and moments measured by the primary afferents. Our study highlights how sensory systems deal with complex physical constraints of perceptual targets and sensors.

Year of Publication2021
JournalScientific Reports
Journal citation11, p. 13570
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Publisher's version
Accepted author manuscript
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online30 Jun 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted07 Jul 2021
PublisherNature Publishing Group

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