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The Digital Rat Software from the Hartmann Group

The Digital Rat is software from the Hartmann group that aims to enable morphologically and mechanically accurate modelling of the rat head and vibrissal (whisker) array. Our long-term goal is to develop a simulation environment that can be used to model the spatiotemporal patterns of mechanical input to vibrissae during the rat's tactile exploratory behaviors. Development of The Digital Rat was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Numbers 0446391, 0818414, and 0846088. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


A morphologically accurate 3D model of the rat head and vibrissal array. The mystacial pad is modeled as an ellipsoid, and all vibrissa parameters are provided as functions of the (row, column) position of the vibrissa in the array.


Towal RB, Quist BW, Gopal V, Solomon JH and Hartmann MJZ (2011) The morphology of the rat vibrissal array: a model for quantifying spatiotemporal patterns of whisker-object contact. PLoS Computational Biology 7:e1001120. 


MATLAB code v1.2. This code now includes PuppetMaster.m


A 2D elastic beam model that can be used to model quasistatic bending of the vibrissa to compute forces and bending moments at the base.


The first version of Elastica2D was written by Joe Solomon for this publication: Solomon JH and Hartmann MJ (2006) Robotic whiskers used to sense features. Nature 443:525. 

Brian Quist made several improvements to Elastica2D in this publication: Quist BW and Hartmann MJZ (2012) Mechanical signals at the base of a rat vibrissa: the effect of intrinsic vibrissa curvature and implications for tactile exploration. Journal of Neurophysiology 107:2298-2312. 


MATLAB code v1.2 This code now includes a guide to elastica2D.m

RatHead Trimesh

Trimesh of the rat's head that complements the model. This trimesh of the head can be added to simulations to develop intuition for the coupling of head and vibrissal movements.


No associated manuscript. Authors are Quist BW, Faruqui RA, and Hartmann MJZ.



Previous Releases

RatMap v1.1 MATLAB code

Elastica2D v1.1 MATLAB code

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