The motion of isolated rat vibrissae due to low frequency sound has been modeled and measured with good agreement (within a factor of 2) between the data and the model’s predictions. As had been done in previous studies on the response of rat vibrissae to tactile stimulation [
Hartmann, M. J., Johnson, N. J., Towal, R. B., and Assad, C., J. Neurosci 23, 6510–6519 (2003)
Neimark, M. A., Andermann, A. L., Hopfield, J. J., and Moore, C. I., J. Neurosci 23, 6449–6509 (2003)
] the vibrissae were modeled as thin conical beams. The force of the vibrating air on a vibrissa was modeled using the exact solution for a vibrating infinite cylinder in linear fluid. A finite element method was used to model the motion of a single vibrissa fixed at its base, using the aforementioned fluid force. Values for Young’s modulus and vibrissa mass density were taken from a previous study [Neimark
(above)]. The model had no freely fitted parameters. Motion of isolated vibrissae was measured using a video camera with microscope. The sound stimulation was created using a stereo speaker connected to a signal generator. The tuning was found to be sharp, with quality factors that varied between 3 and 7, much sharper than the motion of cricket cercal hairs or in vitro inner ear hair bundles.