PhenoTyper home cage

The PhenoTyper is an observation cage for rats or mice that is completely optimized for video tracking. It has a top unit with a fully integrated infrared sensitive camera, infrared LED lights, an audio stimulus and white and yellow lights that can be controlled automatically. The infrared light makes tracking possible in the dark phase of the animal and makes your setup independent of the light conditions in your lab. The camera images can be used in EthoVision XT tracking and analysis software and The Observer XT scoring and analysis software. The lights can be controlled with commands from EthoVision XT, for example when the animal enters a certain zone.


The PhenoTyper has 4 customizable plastic walls which makes it possible to build the cage entirely according to your needs. You can use it as a simple observation cage for short-term experiments. But you can also extend the cage with a drinking bottle, feeder and a shelter and make it just like your animal’s home cage. This makes the PhenoTyper extremely suitable for observations that last very long, for example to study circadian rhythm, or behaviors that occur very rarely, like epileptic seizures.

In addition, you can connect a wide variety of hardware to the cage, like a food dispenser, a feeding monitor, an activity wheel, or operant conditioning devices. In principle you can connect any TTL-based hardware with the USB-IO box to the PhenoTyper. The signals from the hardware can be analyzed in EthoVision XT and, in many, cases the hardware can also be controlled by the software. This can be based on time, but also on the behavior of your animal, for example when it presses a lever. Therefore you can build the PhenoTyper to match exactly your research. See below for some common examples.

For operant conditioning, you can easily equip your PhenoTyper with Operant Micro Modules, such as a nose-poke sensor, air puff, or lights.


Dr. Thomas Prévôt from the University of Toronto uses the PhenoTyper to induce an acute stress response, in order to assess anxiety-like and depressive-like behavior in rodents.