Everything you need to know about EthoVision XT

Everything you need to know about EthoVision XT

Posted by Huib van den Heuvel on Tue 25 Jul. 2023 - 4 minute read

With over 35,000 publications, we can safely say that EthoVision XT is a widely used and applied video tracking software. Over the last 25 years EthoVision XT has evolved from a video tracking software into an advanced, but user friendly, software platform.

Everything you need to know about EthoVision XT

Recently we released EthoVision XT version 17.5, which includes a lot of great new features and improvements. In this blog, we summarized everything you need to know about these new features, the strengths of EthoVision XT and why you should use it in your research!

Video tracking software

First things first: what is EthoVision XT? EthoVision XT is a video tracking software that tracks and analyzes behavior, movement and activity of any animal. It means that the software detects an animal in a video file or from a live video feed and can track its whereabouts and movement. EthoVision XT can even measure movement at pixel-level. This is ideal for studying specific behaviors in rodents such as freezing, rearing or grooming, but is also widely applied in (zebra)fish studies.

Transparency is key

EthoVision XT is not a black box software tool, it gives you full insight and control. You know exactly where your data is coming from at any point in your research and you can even adjust data points if necessary. As a researcher you still have the responsibility to interpreted the data coming from the software. Therefore, having a transparent tool allows for an easier and validated analysis.

Many parameters for analysis and visualization

EthoVision XT extracts a number of parameters: velocity, distance moved, time spent in a certain zone, rotation and many more. But not only can you extract many parameters, there are several ways to visualize your results. Think of plots, graphs, tracks and heatmaps. These all give you great insight into your results and helps you understand them.

New! EthoVision XT 17.5

EthoVision XT 17.5 introduced a variety of third-party integrations, among which are Live Mouse Tracker (LMT) and the Ugo Basile fear conditioning chamber. Upgrade to the latest version to also receive various performance improvements for your EthoVision usage.

Developed by Institut Pasteur, LMT is a cutting-edge system for real-time behavioral analysis of multiple mice. EthoVision XT 17.5 simplifies LMT data importing and analysis, allowing researchers to seamlessly integrate and leverage EthoVision functionality for deeper insights into individual and social behaviors.

Furthermore, EthoVision XT 17.5 enhances the integration of the Ugo Basile fear conditioning chamber with plug-and-play USB connection for up to 4 chambers. Researchers can now set up protocols effortlessly, saving time and ensuring robust results in fear and anxiety-related behavior studies.

Better tracking with deep learning

What is deep learning? Deep learning is a technology that uses neural networks to allow a computer to learn by experience. This takes video tracking to a whole new level, because it provides a more accurate and stable body point detection. Especially in tricky situations where objects might block or obscure a direct line of sight to the animal.

In the video below, you can see a comparison between the classic contour-based tracking and the new advanced deep learning tracking.



At the core of your lab, EthoVision XT can be used for basically any behavioral test and with a variety of animals. The flexible, modular approach of EthoVision XT makes it possible for you to build your own personal EthoVision solution.

Even though you’ll often see studies with zebrafish or rodents, EthoVision XT is scalable for any animal.  Configurations range from basic video tracking to a multi-functional (automated) system. A platform to build on for the future! Learn more about the modules here.

Are you interested in building your own rodent neurobehavioral core? Download this free guidebook on how to build a rodent neurobehavioral core and learn more about the why, who, what and how.

Best tracking results

With EthoVision XT you can track in a video file or from a live video feed. This all works well under both normal and IR lighting conditions. With a large range of cameras, while also being possible to track one or more animals from multiple camera inputs simultaneously.

Considering this, and due to the superior detection methods (including deep learning technology) and automatic detection settings, EthoVision XT gives you the best tracking results compared to any other software currently on the market.

Work remotely

Modern problems require modern solutions. Nowadays working from home, or working remotely is not uncommon at all. We’ve got a couple of solutions for you to not miss any work when working remotely!

Such as being able to analyze your data without a USB dongle (after you’ve acquired the tracks). Also, we now offer a digital license, which can be activated/deactivated depending on the computer you are currently working on. But it is also possible to remotely access a computer, which has the USB dongle (or digital license) installed for video tracking.

High-throughput and high-content

In EthoVision XT you can track up to 100 arenas and up to 16 animals per arena simultaneously. In these arenas you can define up to 10,000 different zones. Think of cumulative zones, hidden zones, etc.

What users say about EthoVision XT

Students from the Gerlai lab in Toronto use EthoVision XT to study the behavior of zebrafish. They comment that: “it’s quick and easy to use, and that it is quite amazing”. It allows them to look at behaviors they are not able to assess manually. Dr. Robert Gerlai comments that EthoVision XT is a great tool for his students to use while they are learning to become behavioral scientists.

The choice is yours! Prof. Roberto Rimondini finds EthoVision XT easy to use and as he says: ‘dummy proof’! Prof. Roberto Rimondini is a neuropsychopharmacologist at the Department of Medical and Clinical Sciences DIMEC, Alma Mater Studiorum Bologna (University of Bologna in Italy) and he has been using the video tracking software since its DOS version. In the video below you’ll learn more about why he chooses to use EthoVision XT.

But if you are more technologically attuned and/or simply want more insight into your data. Or want to add complex hardware control settings or custom scripts? This is also possible in EthoVision XT, and makes this an extremely versatile piece of software.











RESOURCES: Read more about EthoVision XT

Find out how EthoVision XT is used in a wide range of studies and how it can elevate your research!

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