Mouse Treadmill with Encoder


Low-friction treadmill with a very compact design. It is manually driven. A rotary encoder tracks belt movement. An encoder interface based on a teensy microcontroller reads the encoder and calculates speed and direction. Speed is updated every time it changes. If no changes are detected over a set time (typically 50 milliseconds) the speed is set to 0. Distance is also accumulated. The USB-serial connection sends distance and speed on every change. The analog output gives a voltage proportional to speed. With the sketch provided 100 mm/sec are 2.5V. These values can be changed in the sketch as you wish.


  • low-friction, manually (rodent) driven treadmill
  • low profile design fits under most microscopes
  • quadrature rotary encoder, decoded by a teensy interface
  • USB serial interface for speed and accumulated distance
  • 0-3.3V analog output of speed and direction
  • uses 5V USB power supply
  • Teflon surface for low-friction
  • easy to change and easy to clean polyester belt
  • connects easily to M6 breadboards

Calibration of speed, distance, and ouput voltage can be customized. The treadmill also functions without the encoder connected.