KineMouse Wheel

Light-weight running wheel for head-fixed locomotion in mice that allows 3D reconstruction of the position of the body with a single camera.

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Who says you can't reinvent the wheel?! This running wheel for head-fixed mice allows 3D reconstruction of body kinematics using a single camera usingDeepLabCut software. A lightweight, transparent polycarbonate floor and a mirror mounted on the inside at 45 degrees allow two views to be captured simultaneously. All parts are commercially available or laser cut from acrylic.

This open source wheel was designed by Richard Warren in Nate Sawtell's lab at Columbia University. Thanks to Judah Hoffman for help preparing the protocol, and to Tanya Tabachnik for valuable input on the design. Cite this website if you use this in your research:

Warren, R. (date retrieved). KineMouse Wheel. Retrived from

This wheel allows you to capture two orthogonal views with a single camera, facilitating 3D reconstruction of body kinematics using DeepLabCut software. This wheel is also lightweight, allowing mice to run quickly and happily. I recommend using Bonsai software for image acquisition. We also have had success with FLIR cameras for high speed tracking.

The version of the wheel described below is made primarily of acrylic and polycarbonate. However, if you have a need for speed we use a modified version of this wheel that is sturdier and more lightweight. This is accomplished by using a thin aluminum spokes panel, and by cutting slits directly into the polycarbonate for traction and weight reduction. Both of these modifications require water jet manufacturing, and therefore increase the cost to several hundreds of dollars. Please reach out if you would like to know how to build this fancier version of the wheel.

If you would like to measure movement of the wheel, I recommend using a rotary encoder mounted on an additional post mounted in parallel with the other two. If you need advice on how to do this please reach out.

Please send pictures of your completed wheel so we can post them here!

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  • 1 × Thorlabs MB8 Aluminum Breadboard 8" x 8" x 1/2", 1/4"-20 Taps
  • 2 × Thorlabs PH1 Ø1/2" Post Holder, Spring-Loaded Hex-Locking Thumbscrew, L = 1"
  • 1 × Silicone sheet, .015" thickness We used the "Silicone Sheet in Continuous Rolls" available from Stockwell Elastomerics:
  • 2 × Pololu 1993 Universal Aluminum Mounting Hub for 1/4? (6.35mm) Shaft, #4-40 Holes
  • 2 × Thorlabs TR4 Ø1/2" Optical Post, SS, 8-32 Setscrew, 1/4"-20 Tap, L = 4"

View all 19 components

  • 1
    Laser Cut

    Begin by laser cutting two copies of the spokes file using 1/4 inch acrylic (preferably extruded acrylic as opposed to cast acrylic) and one copy of the circle file using 1/8 inch acrylic. Each piece should be 7.5 inches in diameter. If the size is wrong there may have been an issue with the scaling of the file in your printing software.

    Attach the Polou mounting hub to both spokes using 4-40 screws.

  • 2
    Mount poles

    Mount Thorlabs RA180 clamps to TR4 posts, and clamp the ball bearings inside the clamps without over tightening.

  • 3
    Mount on breadboard

    Insert the posts into two PH1 post holders separated by 5 inches on the breadboard. Cut aluminum shaft to length of 5 inches.

View all 15 instructions

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