EthoVision XT has been around for more than 20 years, and during these years it has evolved from video tracking software into a software platform, designed to be at the core of your lab.
Video tracking technology is versatile and enough to be very useful in many different behavioral tests. We want you to have software that fits the bill for all of these, from straight-forward protocols such as open field or Morris water maze testing, to high-throughput testing, such as zebrafish larvae activity monitoring in 96-well plates. Operant conditioning and optogenetics are also an important part of current research, so EthoVision XT is designed to automate sophisticated protocols, including the control of instruments, so you can perform tests such as a five choice serial reaction time task.
On these pages we will explain why EthoVision XT is software you can build on. If you want to get straigth to the chase, here is a list of reasons why others use EthoVision XT.
Click here to find out what's new in the latest version of EthoVision XT.
What is video tracking?
Video tracking means that EthoVision XT is able to detect an animal in a video file or from a live video feed, distinguish it from its background, and track its whereabouts and movements. This is the core of EthoVision XT, and we can confidently say it is very good. (Read about the detection methods here).
Recently, in addition to tracking, activity detection was added to perceive activity as changes at pixel-level from one frame to the next. This is ideal for studying behaviors such as freezing. Read more about activity detection here.
As you can imagine the resulting coordinates and time stamps allow for many different kinds of analyses. EthoVision XT extracts a number of parameters, and there are several ways to visualize your results, such as in the form of plots, graphs, tracks, and heatmaps.
What you get out of it
You can define zones and points of interest in your arena, and EthoVision XT relates movement, activity, and behavior to these zones, and presents the results with numerous statistics. EthoVision XT can also use all this input to control external equipment during the experiment: drop a pellet as the mouse enters the correct arm of a radial arm maze, play an audio file when the rat enters the feeding zone, or turn on a light when the animal has been inactive for a certain period of time.
Read more about using EthoVision XT as an integration platform here.
While EthoVision XT is mostly used in behavioral neuroscience, it is applicable to tests with any kind of animal, in any kind of arena. As long as you can put a camera above your arena, you can track your animal. Think of farm animal welfare studies, studies on fish… EthoVision XT has even been used in autism research, tracking children!
Recently we have added another major data gathering option to EthoVision XT: automatic recognition of rat behaviors. Ten behaviors are scored accurately, consistently, and tirelessly by the software. Read more about how you can save a lot of time with this module.