Decoding rat language with machine learning algorithms

Verge Science

DeepSqueak, a sophisticated computer algorithm that records and analyzes rat vocalizations, could someday revolutionize animal research. The program can take hours of rat audio, most of which is far outside the range of human hearing, and extrapolate what the rat is trying to say.

“You can just place a microphone over the cage and listen in and let them tell you exactly how they’re feeling,” said Kevin Coffey, Senior fellow at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Washington.

For researchers, this could mean no more guessing how a rat is feeling or why they are acting in a certain way. If they are avoiding food, are they upset or just distracted? If they are spending a lot of time on their wheel, are they getting an endorphin rush or working off some anxiety?

Watch this video by William Poor at Verge Science to learn more about DeepSqueak’s functionalities

DeepSqueak was also highlighted in a recent paper in Neuropsychopharmacology.