The secret to a rat’s sense of touch? It’s all in how the whiskers bend

Enlarge / Northwestern University scientists have developed the first mechanical simulation of a rat whisker inside its follicle, to better understand how that sensory input is communicated to the brain.Niccirf/Getty Images

Rats, cats, and many other mammals have whiskers, which they typically use to sense their surrounding environment, akin to the sense of touch. But scientists have yet to precisely determine the means by which whiskers communicate that sense of touch to the brain. Now an interdisciplinary team at Northwestern University has come up with a new model to help predict how a rat’s whiskers activate different sensory cells to do just that, according

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