The Noldus SfN 2023 recap
It’s already been a month since we visited SfN! We wanted to share a quick recap with you of our great week in Washington D.C. In this recap, you can read about some of the big trends during the conference, and new innovations we showed our trusted customers and newcomers to Noldus alike!
The most common trend: AI
AI was all the hype
Current and new technologies are investing in, and promoting, AI strongly. AI is revolutionizing the way we measure behavior, quantify physiological parameters, and even how we read and dissect research papers. Noldus is not new to the AI field. We've already been implementing AI tracking for a few years, going back a few iterations of EthoVision XT, where we introduced deep learning tracking.
Deep learning technology in EthoVision XT works on rats and mice with an even fur color and hooded (Long-Evans) rats.
Using deep learning requires substantial computation power, you need a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) that is able to sustain those computations.
Our customers' trust in Noldus tools
Our existing customer base also visited the booth a lot! A common question they asked was: What's new this year!? Why do they ask that? Well, as existing customers, they know that we at Noldus are constantly innovating, evolving, and advancing our behavioral research tools. We collaborate heavily with the scientific community to create solutions that are needed in the field. This bottom-up approach has always been at the forefront of Noldus' vision.
So, what was new this year?
PhenoTyper 2: a revolutionary update
PhenoTyper 2 brings some long-awaited updates to our behavioral home-cage system! By far the most exciting change is the modular top unit, which can fit modular pieces that can be removed and/or swapped out for other integrated add-ons, making it highly customizable to your needs, while ensuring flexibility for the future.
The Smart Annotator: our new AI-based smart annotation tool
We are constantly looking for smart and effective ways to reliably increase your data acquisition capabilities. When looking at additional behaviors, such as grooming, jumping, and rearing, this has traditionally been scored by human observers. This takes time, is prone to repeatability issues, and is inherently subjective. This is why, with EthoVision XT, you can add the behavioral recognition module that automatically, objectively, accurate, and tirelessly scores additional behaviors in rats or mice.
Enter: The Smart Annotator. Noldus' newest AI tool uses data from the Behavior Recognition Module and gives you suggestions of the recognized behavior, which you can then choose, correct, or fine-tune. The Smart Annotator automatically detects behavior in mice and rats from a trained AI model in an intuitive layout. Difficult cases are presented to the user, who can then decide where the model is unsure. The AI will do the heavy lifting, but the user remains in control.
You might ask yourself: "What is the added benefit compared to the already existing behavioral recognition module?" The trained AI network is not static. By selecting the suggested behavior, the AI network within The Smart Annotator improves its recognition based on your input.
The Multi Subject Tracker: Accurately video track multiple subjects simultaneously
More AI integration! With The Multi Subject Tracker (MST) in EthoVision XT, tracking and analyzing social interactions of mice and/or rats will be done in pre-trained AI models. This innovation is taking our renowned behavioral research tools to new levels of accuracy, efficiency, and user-friendliness.
Want to become a Beta tester? Let us know at: [email protected]
These were some highlights, read more about upcoming products in our pre-SfN blog!
Research with Noldus tools
If there is research done that includes measuring behavior with video tracking, there is over 60% chance that this is done with Noldus tools. It is one of 10 reasons why you should use software in your lab, such as our flagship product EthoVision XT.
At SfN we had a great booklet filled with research projects that were being presented there and then at SfN! It provides an overview of presentations from the Noldus community at Neuroscience 2023 (organized by date). These studies incorporate one or more Noldus tools, such as EthoVision XT, DanioVision, PhenoTyper, or CatWalk. You can download the booklet here!
Everyone who filled in their information to be displayed in the booklet, by submitting their abstract, had the chance to win a Noldus conference prize of $500.
Dr. Bethany Kondiles, from the University of British Columbia, won one of our abstract prizes about her research with CatWalk XT on remyelination in a Spinal Cord Injury model. She has used the CatWalk XT to examine the potential of repurposing the drugs metformin and clemastine to improve recovery from spinal cord injury (SCI), particularly by promoting remyelination. Congrats Bethany!
And also congrats to Maricela Martinez from the University of California, Irvine, with her prize about her research on the Assessment of Microflia Function After Adolescent delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and Adulthood Opioid Exposure. In her research she asks the question: Does Adolescent THC persistently increase vulnerability to opiod addiction in part via actions of Microglia? She used EthoVision XT to measure behavior in rats after exposure to THC (a cannabinoid drug) during adolescence.
A great quote by Maricela: "EthoVision is such a staple of the lab!" We are always delighted to hear how our products change the game for researchers.
Record number of booth visitors
We've never had so many visitors in our booth than this year! We would like to thank everyone that visited us, the conversations were great, engaging, and insightful. We were able to help so many researchers with any questions they had regarding their setup or what they desired in terms of measuring behavior in the future. The SfN 2023 Noldus team had a great time talking to everyone and enjoyed every last second of SfN!
Also we had a lot of fun with our beloved green Noldus mouse! We started a campaign on social media: #noldusmouse, which will continue to run indefinitely! So did you take a Noldus mouse home? Or to the lab? Take a picture and post it with the hashtag #noldusmouse
With love from the Noldus crew!
And we hope to see you again next year, at SfN 2024!