Robotics is continuously being integrated in animal behaviour studies to create customizable, controllable, and repeatable stimuli. However, few systems have capitalized on recent breakthroughs in computer vision and real-time control to enable a two-way interaction between the animal and the robot. Here, we present a "closed-loop control" system to investigate the behaviour of zebrafish, a popular animal model in preclinical studies. The system allows for actuating a biologically-inspired 3D-printed replica in a 3D workspace, in response to the behaviour of a zebrafish. We demonstrate the role of closed-loop control in modulating the response of zebrafish, across a range of behavioural and information-theoretic measures. Our results suggest that closed-loop control could enhance the degree of biomimicry of the replica, by increasing the attraction of live subjects and their interaction with the stimulus. Interactive experiments hold promise to advance our understanding of zebrafish, offering new means for high throughput behavioural phenotyping.
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