EthoVision XT

Trial and hardware control

EthoVision XT’s Trial & Hardware Control is an add-on Module that allows you to fully automate your experiments. So what’s in it for you?

Automate your experiments

Based on timing, specific behaviors, or activity patterns as detected by EthoVision XT, you can use the software to control other devices, like lights, pellet dispensers, doors, etc. You can create a protocol that fits your research questions exactly.

EthoVision XT can also control other programs. For example, some studies use images or video files to display visual stimuli (other species, conspecifics with other shapes or colors, predators, etc.) and measure a subjects' response.

EthoVision XT is the most widely applied video tracking software that tracks and analyzes the behavior, movement, and activity of any animal.

  • A cost-effective solution for all standard behavioral tests such as the Morris water maze and open field testing

  • High-throughput and high-content testing

  • Suitable for sophisticated test-protocols



While “programming” your protocol might sound daunting, Trial & Hardware Control is as easy as working with building blocks.

You set requirements to control the hardware with Conditions and Actions. When a condition is met, the action is performed. For example: when a mouse is detected on top of a shelter (condition), a pellet is dropped (action). When it’s 8 am (condition), the lights will turn off (action).

ethovision trial hardware control pellet drop protocol  

Operant conditioning

You can imagine this is extremely powerful for operant learning experiments. Do you want to give a food reward when your rat presses a lever? Do you want to switch on a light when the Mouse Feeding Monitor records a certain consumption? Or do you want to switch on a brake of the Activity Wheel after a number of rotations? Use EthoVision XT’s Trial & Hardware Control.

We offer a large number of operant modules for air puffs, food or drinking rewards, or a visual or sound cue. All can be connected to PhenoTyper.


Spatial memory

The Morris water maze, radial arm maze, T-maze, and similar paradigms also benefit from automation. The automatic opening and closing of guillotine doors, for example, can help you set up protocols, such as routines for the animal to learn. In a Morris water maze, the Atlantis can be automatically raised.


Optogenetic stimulation

Combining optogenetics and EthoVision XT allows you to investigate the actual influence of specific neurons on behavior. Program the optogenetic stimulation device (such as Prizmatix equipment) to switch on and off at a certain time or prompted by animal behavior.

phenotyper optogenetics

Combining modules

Combining the Trial & Hardware Control Module with other EthoVision XT Modules allows you to do even more!


  • Add the Social Interaction Module to apply an optogenetic stimulus when your animal approaches another one, or when they show cooperative behavior
  • Extend with the Multiple Body Points Module to release a food reward only if the animal’s nose point is to a lever (not accidentally touching it with its tail)

Zebrafish studies

EthoVision XT and Trial & Hardware Control are also part of the DanioVision set-up. It controls the light in the Observation Chamber and other (optionally) built-in devices such as the Tapping Unit, Optogenetics Add-on, and Toplight Unit.