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Blink is a scientific setup used for both eyeblink conditioning and prepulse inhibition of the startle reflex in animals. Classical eye-blink conditioning in mutant mice can be used to study the molecular mechanisms underlying associative learning. To measure the kinetic and frequency domain properties of conditioned and unconditioned eyelid responses in freely moving mice, we developed a method that allows adequate, absolute, and continuous determination of their eyelid movements in time and space while using an air puff as the unconditioned stimulus.
Blink uses Magnetic Distance Measurement Technique for accurate measuring eyelid movements. The MDMT technique is based on a magneto-sensitive chip that measures the magnetic field of a miniscule magnet that is placed on the eyelid. No arbitrary threshold and integration tricks are needed for obtaining an accurate position and velocity signal of the eyelid.
A complete description of MDMT, compared to EMG and Video Tracking is available in:
S.K.E. Koekkoek, W. L. Den Ouden, G. Perry, S. M. Highstein, and C. I. De Zeeuw. Monitoring Kinetic and Frequency-Domain Properties of Eyelid Responses in Mice With Magnetic Distance Measurement Technique Journal of Neurophysiology 2002 Oct;88(4):2124-33.
Koekkoek SK, Hulscher HC, Dortland BR, Hensbroek RA, Elgersma Y, Ruigrok TJ, De Zeeuw CI. Cerebellar LTD and learning-dependent timing of conditioned eyelid responses. Science. 2003 Sep 19;301(5640):1736-9.