Noldus will add CatWalk to its portfolio: a system for automated gait analysis in rodents

12 November 2005

Washington - Noldus Information Technology today announced the addition of a new product to its portfolio: CatWalk. Catwalk is a system for automated gait analysis in rodents. With a rich feature set for data acquisition and gait analysis, CatWalk provides an objective instrument for the assessment of locomotion. Applications are found in a wide range of research areas, including neurotrauma, neurodegeneration, muscular diseases and pain. The actual release of CatWalk is scheduled for next year but you are free to contact the product manager for CatWalk for any question you might have.

CatWalk uses computer vision to measure paw prints of animals traversing a glass walkway. The glass floor is illuminated by a light source along the long edge, such that the light is entirely internally reflected. At points where a paw touches the glass, light exits the floor and scatters at the paw, illuminating the points of contact only. The intensity of the signal depends on the degree of paw floor contact and increases with pressure applied. The contact patterns are detected by a CCD camera, digitized and processed by the CatWalk software, resulting in a vast collection of quantitative gait parameters. The fact that paws are only detected when touching the surface, and that pressure can be measured too, are significant advantages of CatWalk over existing gait analysis systems. Because of this, the system offers an alternative for the labor-intensive and subjective Von Frey testing in pain research.

The CatWalk system was invented in the late nineties by Dr. Frank Hamers at the Rudolf Magnus Institute for Neurosciences in Utrecht, The Netherlands. It was originally developed for the study of spinal cord injury in rats, but has subsequently been adopted for a range of other nervous system models. During the past decade the system has been validated in numerous studies at universities across Europe and the United States. Recently, Noldus Information Technology, Utrecht University and Dr. Hamers have reached agreement about the commercialization, further development and support of the CatWalk system. Noldus Information Technology will take up worldwide responsibility for the marketing, sales and support of CatWalk. This includes production of CatWalk systems (walkway, illumination, video and computer hardware), production of user documentation, delivery of software updates, on-site installation and training, and technical support. Noldus will also become responsible for further software development. These activities will take place in collaboration with Dr. Hamers, who will act as a consultant to the company.

Noldus Information Technology, founded in 1989, is a leading developer of software and integrated solutions for animal behavior research. More than 3500 companies, governmental organizations and universities in over 75 countries use Noldus products to measure behavioral processes, to improve the quality of their data and to save valuable time. Noldus’ advanced data collection and analysis tools allow a refinement of laboratory animal tests, as well as an increase of the amount of information gathered per test animal. Noldus’ client list includes leading pharmaceutical companies and neuroscience institutes. The company operates from offices across Europe and the United States, and a global network of qualified distributors.
More information can be found in the CatWalk section of this website.