Studying medications and other anti-depression therapies on live animals is difficult because inducing depression is not an easy task. So far genetic manipulation or surgical operations have been tried, but they have their downsides.
Now researchers at Waseda University in Japan are proudly reporting the development of a robotic rat that, by bullying, stresses out other rats and promotes their depression. Or as the authors of the study in Advanced Robotics put it, “we conclude that the animal model of depression developed by proposed method, exposing continuous attack by the robot in immature period and interactive attack in mature period, can be a novel animal model of depression.” We suspect that people who fear rats can also be induced with depression using the robot, if such is the goal.
Article in Advanced Robotics: A novel method to develop an animal model of depression using a small mobile robot
(hat tip: The Verge)