When experimenting with laboratory animals, it's important to completely eliminate any outside factors that could influence the results. So to prevent infection from human handlers, Japan's Nikkyo Technos and Yaskawa Electric have completely eliminated people from the equation with this robotic system that can autonomously care for up to 30,000 mice at once.
The six-axis robot arm that the army of mice calls mom or dad can mimic the motions of a human, and using swappable tools it can perform mundane tasks like feeding, changing the water and sheets, and moving the cages from storage to the lab. Future models will even include a camera that monitors food levels so the mice are never overfed.
The system vastly reduces the time it takes to shuffle mice around, particularly for very large studies. And the consistent gentle motions of the robot arm help keep the mice calm in the process, because the technology to handle 30,000 tiny barf bags just doesn't exist yet. [DigInfo TV]