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During ventilation induced lung injury (VILI) experiments, anesthetized mice lose the ability to regulate their core body temperature. Without maintaining homeostasis, the experimental data may be compromised due to changes in the rodent’s internal functions. Traditional heating techniques utilize a water circulation heating system that is unable to fit inside flexiVent ventilator testing chambers. The objective of this project is to design and build an automatic thermoregulatory feedback system to regulate the core body temperature of a mouse inside individual testing chambers throughout the duration of the experiment. The project deliverables include a functioning prototype that achieves safe and effective thermoregulation of small rodents with flexiVent compatibility and evidence of desired function. The design constitutes a Raspberry Pi 2 B microcomputer connected to a temperature sensor, an electric heating element, and touch-control display with software that maintains homeostasis. The electric heating pad with an external water blanket was chosen over a water circulation heating system and a far-infrared heating system due to its large degree of control and ability to be implemented in a physically isolated testing chamber. Other similar designs are limited by size, ability to heat rodents within the flexiVent chamber, and automation. This product ultimately eliminates the need for researchers to manually monitor the core body temperature of the test subject and allows for extended ventilation periods utilizing the flexiVent ventilation system.

Publication Date



biomedical engineering, thermoregulation, ventilation, flexiVent, heating


Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering | Engineering

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Dr. Rebecca Heise

VCU Capstone Design Expo Posters


© The Author(s)

Date of Submission

August 2016

Small Animal Thermal Support Device: Thermoregulation System for SCIREQ flexiVent Chamber