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Combatting wildlife crime using cutting edge video technology

Combatting wildlife crime using cutting edge video technology

April 6, 2023 - In May 2022, our CEO Lucas Noldus and VP Marketing Arjan Veenboer attended the opening of the Wildlife Forensic Academy (WFA) in Buffelsfontein, South Africa, one hour north of Cape Town. WFA founder Andro Vos and his team took a broad group of stakeholders on a tour through their new facility. We were invited to this grand opening because we are a proud partner of the WFA. So, how are things going ten months later? Time to talk to Andro Vos about the developments and experiences since the opening in 2022. What is the Wildlife Forensic Academy?History The WFA was founded by Andro Vos. Andro has over 20 years of experience in human crime scene investigation from his work at the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI). During a visit to South Africa he came into contact with an entirely different kind of crime scene. He was invited to the Kruger Park to learn about wildlife crime. There Andro witnessed the cadaver of a poached rhinoceros. The whole experience stuck with him and he decided that he needed to do something to stop this rampant wildlife poaching.Wildlife crime is the organized poaching and selling of animals, and is unfortunately one of the biggest illegal businesses in terms of revenue (30 billion dollars worldwide annually). It also facilitates many other types of crime through its distribution chain. Animals are traded for weapons and drugs and they can carry zoonotic diseases. Furthermore, poaching causes the local ecosystems (where animals are taken and from where they are shipped) to be disturbed. When hearing about wildlife crime, one might think only about killed rhinos and elephants. But actually, Andro told us that most poaching is actually done at sea. The poaching of abalone for consumption is a major problem in South Africa especially. Andro Vos says that, “a major problem in combatting poaching is getting the case through the legal system. A case doesn’t go to conviction without evidence, and gathering evidence is what us

Introducing NoldusHub, the all-in-one research platform for human behavior studies

Introducing NoldusHub, the all-in-one research platform for human behavior studies

January 26, 2023 - Noldus Information Technology has released NoldusHub, a brand-new all-in-one research platform for human behavior studies. This software suite will streamline multimodal research from start to finish, providing high-quality data, better understanding of, and insights into human behavior. As a leading developer with over 30 years’ experience, Noldus Information Technology uses the latest technologies to develop cutting-edge tools for science and practice. These allow customers to measure a wealth of modalities, from behavior and physiology to emotion, cognition, and user experience. “I am very pleased to welcome NoldusHub as a new member of our product family for human behavior research. It addresses an urgent need of scientists who need a versatile tool for multimodal research that is powerful yet easy to use.”Lucas Noldus (CEO)|Noldus Information Technology, The NetherlandsAbout NoldusHubThe design of NoldusHub follows from our mission to advance human behavior research, and help scientists to overcome any technical challenges along the way. Combining multiple types of measurements can be demanding, especially when using acquisition tools from different manufacturers that have to be calibrated, started, and synchronized. From setting up your equipment to connecting all devices, from recording to visualizing in a clear way, NoldusHub makes multimodal research easy. The platform collects data from a webcam, eye tracker, and physiological devices, resulting in the synchronization of a variety of signals and behavioral input. From ECG, and EDA, to PPG, NoldusHub can measure it.Your data in a heartbeatAnd NoldusHub does not stop after acquisition. Based on the experimental data gathered, NoldusHub creates valuable insights, both during and after data collection. For example: we have integrated FaceReader, for trustworthy facial expression recognition and analysis.Unique to NoldusHub is its ability to run multiple experiments at once. The system heartbeat

Noldus Information Technology achieves ISO 27001 information security certification

Noldus Information Technology achieves ISO 27001 information security certification

November 21, 2022 - Noldus Information Technology BV has achieved ISO 27001 certification for its Information Security Management System (ISMS). The audit for compliance with ISO 27001 (in full: ISO/IEC 27001:2013) was completed by an accredited third-party certification body.ISO 27001 is an internationally recognized standard that outlines and provides the specifications for an ISMS, providing guidance on how to protect and manage an organization’s information through effective risk management. Compliance with ISO 27001 demonstrates that Noldus Information Technology uses internationally recognized processes and best practices to manage its internal information infrastructure and systems that support and deliver its services to customers and partners.Alexander Weggeman, Noldus’ Information Security Officer, comments: “I am proud of our achievement. By interviewing professionals throughout the organization, I was able to see Noldus through their eyes. It made me realize that we are improving our policies, procedures, and processes continuously. ISO 27101 helps us focus on lowering risks and preventing incidents. In a systematic way, that is.”He adds: “It really makes me smile when I see my colleagues working, adhering to the standards we have agreed upon. Being awarded the ISO 27001 certificate means that our customers can be confident that our internal processes comply with the highest information security standards.”This success is due not only to the efforts of our QA team and committed employees, but also to the input from our partners, customers, and suppliers.

Monitoring our bees: why and how

Monitoring our bees: why and how

September 14, 2022 - In the Noldus’ garden, it is good to be for the bees. There is plenty of space, where they can find a good deal of pollen and where enough nectar-giving flowers and plants grow, including on the green roof of the building. Nearby are lots of trees and the canal (Nieuwe Kanaal) offers them water. A honeybee needs all these ingredients to stay alive: pollen, nectar, and water.Sustainable beekeepingNoldus helps the bees by providing them a safe place to stay. Since a couple of years, we have multiple hives with bee colonies that we take care of. The bee committee, consisting of several colleagues, did a basic beekeeping course to learn what needs to be done during the year to allow the bees to function optimally.At Noldus, we think the survival of the bees is important. As the main pollinators of our crops, such as fruit, we cannot live without these impressive creatures. The most important crops for human consumption are 80% dependent on pollination. Optimal pollination is essential to supply the growing world population with sufficient vitamins and minerals.That is why we put a lot of effort into maintaining our bee colonies, and proudly mention them on the 'About Noldus' webpage as one of our core values.The most important job of beekeepers is monitoringAs beekeepers, we regularly check how our bees are doing. Reliable insight into the health status of each bee colony and timely intervention if the health status deteriorates is essential for sustainable beekeeping management and optimal pollination capacity.During our inspections, we pay attention to all sorts of things. Do they bring in pollen? Are they calm or restless? Do they have enough food? Do we see indications of possible diseases? How do the colonies grow? And when they grow, are their hives big enough, or are there signs that they want to swarm? Do they need more space?

Noldus’ green roof reflects the dry summer season

Noldus’ green roof reflects the dry summer season

August 17, 2022 - Last year, we decided to convert two pebble-covered roofs of our Wageningen office into green roofs, with a biodiverse vegetation cover. Now we see every day how the vegetation changes. Per hour, per day, per season. Experiencing a very dry summer, we realize even more that our impact is important. We opened our current international headquarters in 2005 in Wageningen, The Netherlands. Today that building houses three beehives, a green roof with biodiverse vegetation covering, sedum roof, and 122 solar panels. The sedum roof covers the building’s social area and canteen. The green roof covers the entrance. The surrounding grounds are planted with native trees and shrubs, and managed without use of chemicals. Especially the green roof covering our main entrance now noticeably reflects the dry summer.Companies of any size can make a difference The Dutch national weather service KNMI reports that this year is well on its way to being extremely dry. It turns out that the sun is the biggest driver of the drought, just like in the extremely sunny year 2020 [1]. We believe that companies of any size can make a difference in sustainability. So next to realizing that we need to act in a sustainable matter, we also contribute to the local initiative ‘Wageningen Klimaatneutraal’ [2] where over 50 'climate partners' are working together on a climate neutral Wageningen by 2030. Already in 2018, Noldus stopped using gas. Alderman Lara de Brito commented back then: “Noldus is the first existing company to completely get rid of gas, which is really special. I'm impressed. From the start, they have been a climate partner that really inspires.” [3] Research on the roofSo with our own eyes we observe changes on our roof, but there is also a scientist involved. Eva Drukker, researcher at Wageningen University and Research (WUR), the Netherlands uses our green roofs for her PhD research to look into the effect of green roofs on biodiversity, in particular the dive

Looking back at Measuring Behavior 2022

Looking back at Measuring Behavior 2022

August 1, 2022 - Measuring Behavior 2022 was originally planned to take place in 2020. But, along came the pandemic and first we delayed it a couple of times and then finally we decided we didn’t want to postpone anymore and went virtual. In the end, we had a good number of delegates, including presenters across a wide spectrum of time zones and many people taking advantage of the possibility to watch the parallel sessions offline after the conference itself was over.The program and scientific outcomes of a truly multidisciplinary conference The program was rich and diverse. We had sessions on specific domains (automotive human factors, sports science, food and eating, animal welfare), new technologies (drones, AI, virtual reality, new sensors, multi-modal measurements), a diversity of species (humans, rodents, farm animals, dogs and one study even included 16 different species of mammal), and methodological issues (reproducibility, measuring in the field, statistics).Methods and techniques for measuring many different types of behavior were presented including emotions, movement, cognitive and mental states, health, eating, sleeping, posture, learning, sensing, driving, and social interaction. All authors wrote a short paper, which was peer-reviewed. These are freely available in the conference Proceedings, which are downloadable from the website, and have an ISBN as well as a DOI address. In addition, we had a special topic about developments in implicit measurements in Frontiers in Psychology, which can be downloaded as an e-book.Sharing idea, presenting inventions, and inspiring each otherMost of the presentations were the traditional scientific format, but we also had tutorials, demonstrations of new software, commercial presentations and three keynote speeches. The keynotes were particularly interesting. Prof. Chris de Zeeuw (Erasmus Medical Centre & Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience) explained the latest techniques for measuring learning and memory (with

FaceReader useful to improve Animal-Assisted Therapy

FaceReader useful to improve Animal-Assisted Therapy

July 18, 2022 - For several years now, the Lithuanian University of Health Science (LSMU) in Kaunas, is using the FaceReader software for scientific research within several faculties. For example, the faculty of Food Safety and Quality took advantage of the FaceReader software to answer the question whether there is a relationship between food choice and a person’s mood? The results obtained using FaceReader are very promising and sufficiently accurate to detect differences in facial emotion expressions induced by different tastes of food for different mood groups.Prof. Dr. E. Bartkiene|Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, LithuaniaRecently, Jovitą Lukšaitę and her team of the LSMU faculty of Animal Sciences investigated how to improve Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT). For this research, they used FaceReader software. Again, a good example of how FaceReader empowers researchers in their work, to obtain objective data in a structured and effective way.The Noldus research portfolio: FaceReaderNoldus empowers customers with best in class tools to ease the work of the researchers, enable them to collect data and calculate reliable results to help them discover the insights they are looking for. Working side by side with those researchers results in personal service and tailored solutions for their research needs.FaceReader is one of those innovative tools for scientific research in areas such as communication, emotions, and all kind of interactions, like parent-child interaction, but also human-animal interaction. This article focuses on the latter.The usefulness of Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT)Positive emotions, as well as the feelings of happiness, are very important factors for human mental and physical health. Within a human-animal interaction, animals such as dogs, cats, sheep, horses, and pigs can provide people with a sense of calm, comfort, or security. Moreover, they can distract the attention from a stressful situation.Animal-Assisted therapy advocates say that deve

Noldus announces collaboration agreement with Inscopix

Noldus announces collaboration agreement with Inscopix

June 28, 2022 - Noldus Information Technology, a leading developer of tools for behavioral research, announced a collaboration agreement with neuroscience company Inscopix. Through this collaboration, Noldus’ pioneering EthoVision XT video tracking software can be integrated in Inscopix’s new nVision platform. Researchers will now be able to perform precise time correlations between rodent brain activity and behavior, such as exploration or navigation and choice tasks. “Uncovering brain dysfunction at the neurocircuitry level and how it is linked to behavior will enable researchers to uncover new insights into how the brain works and will support the development of better targeted treatments,” said Lucas Noldus, Ph.D., CEO of Noldus Information Technology. “We are excited to collaborate with Inscopix and offer users the capability of integrating our pioneering video tracking technology with Inscopix’s new platform.” EthoVision XT has a long-standing record as the market leading software for video tracking and experiment automation. It is capable of tracking and analyzing animal behavior, movement, and activity from video or live camera input. nVision platformInscopix’ new nVision platform allows for the real-time integration of behavior with miniscope imaging, which enables the simultaneous capture of high-quality behavior and calcium imaging movies in a single session. “We have been working in the background for a long time now to provide our miniscope users with an effortless and accurate way to synchronize their valuable miniscope data with third party-acquired behavioral movies, which is technically laborious to do and prone to data loss,” said Kunal Ghosh, Ph.D., CEO of Inscopix. “We're thrilled to be introducing nVision, which is the first and only platform enabling both high-resolution acquisition of behavioral videos and precise synchronization with calcium imaging data.”Upon release, nVision would be the only integrated technology