Just like most updates and features in ANY-maze, the decision to come out with an operant interface started because a researcher came to us with a need and asked if we could help. As mentioned in our recent webinar, ANY-maze has historically been a video tracking software. However, to some degree, ANY-maze has always provided an avenue to connect third-party equipment. We formalized this concept and around 2007, we introduced the ANY-maze interface, which has since evolved into several other interfaces.
“We have a digital interface, optogenetics interface, electrophysiology interface, [and an] analog interface.”
There are all sorts of ways to connect to ANY-maze. We had an increasing number of researchers who wanted to connect and run their operant test using ANY-maze. While we could do this with our digital interface, it was a complicated setup. Once we had walked enough users through the process, we realized that a specific interface designed to be a drop-in replacement for the Med Connection panel would provide a simpler and less expensive solution. We started with an operant interface designed to be used with meta-social equipment, which quickly transitioned to designing interfaces for Lafayette and Coulbourn equipment, as researchers wanted to use that equipment with ANY-maze.
“What we found is that researchers are most often interested in controlling their operant experiments with ANY-maze because they’re familiar with [its] design and they’re appreciative of [its] ease of use.”
ANY-maze’s procedures are simple to understand and therefore simple to create. This idea applies to the other manufacturers as well: the ability to write and revise their procedures is critical and vital to operant researchers, and so we gave that power to the users. We detailed the use of these procedures in our webinar, and if you haven’t seen it, I’d encourage you to do so if this is something that interests you.