Feeding experimentation device (FED): Construction and validation of an open-source device for measuring food intake in rodents

Katrina P. Nguyen, Mohamed A. Ali, Timothy J. O'Neal, Ilona Szczot, Julia A. Licholai, Alexxai V. Kravitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Food intake measurements are essential for many research studies. Here, we provide a detailed description of a novel solution for measuring food intake in mice: the Feeding Experimentation Device (FED). FED is an open-source system that was designed to facilitate flexibility in food intake studies. Due to its compact and battery powered design, FED can be placed within standard home cages or other experimental equipment. Food intake measurements can also be synchronized with other equipment in real-time via FED's transistor-transistor logic (TTL) digital output, or in post-acquisition processing as FED timestamps every event with a real-time clock. When in use, a food pellet sits within FED's food well where it is monitored via an infrared beam. When the pellet is removed by the mouse, FED logs the timestamp onto its internal secure digital (SD) card and dispenses another pellet. FED can run for up to 5 days before it is necessary to charge the battery and refill the pellet hopper, minimizing human interference in data collection. Assembly of FED requires minimal engineering background, and off-the-shelf materials and electronics were prioritized in its construction. We also provide scripts for analysis of food intake and meal patterns. Finally, FED is open-source and all design and construction files are online, to facilitate modifications and improvements by other researchers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere55098
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number120
StatePublished - Feb 21 2017


  • Automation
  • Behavior
  • Electronics
  • Feeding
  • Food intake
  • Home cage
  • Issue 120
  • Microcontroller
  • Open-source


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