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Behavioural Research News

www.tracksys.co.uk 0115 922 4539
December 2013

Tracksys - 20 glorious years!

Over the 20 years we've seen great strides taken in the capability and range of the products supplied by our three main partner; Noldus, SMI and SIMI

What hasn't changed though, is our commitment to understanding the needs of researchers, both academic and commercial, and to provide them with cost-effective solutions & ongoing support to get the most from their investment.

In this issue:

Product Update

EthoVision 10 released

Released at Neuroscience in San Diego in November, EthoVision 10 includes a host of new features including;

  • Rat behaviour recognition module including, eating, sniffing, grooming, jumping, twitching, supported and unsupported rearing
  • Group statistics and charts
  • Built-in Heatmaps
  • Automatic acquistion and batch analysis
  • Track from 4 videos simultaneously

Contact us for more details on a licence or an upgrade

User Stories

Monitoring Barbastelle bats in Norfolk

Jane Harris of Kepwick Ecological Services works with Natural England to provide annual counts of rare Barbastelle bats at their maternity roost in Paston Great Barn in Norfolk. Until this year this relied on low resolution VHS tape recordings.

After an on-site visit Tracksys Ltd supplied a new system using digital network cameras, & digital storage, which can record for far longer periods of time, but still at the high frame rates required, and at far higher resolutions.  

Jane  comments

“the new system has allowed us to achieve so much more, with less disturbance to the bats. It’s ease of use, and quality, have prompted an expansion of the monitoring of the barn, and has allowed us to record activity throughout the night and discover new roosting places in the timber framework that are inaccessible for inspection. The facility for continuous recording has also revealed other aspects of behaviour of the Barbastelles during the breeding season".

The video system is based on Power-over-Ethernet (POE) high-resolution network cameras, in a high-quality easy-to-deploy solution, for the recording of video that can be analysed in The Observer XT or EthoVision XT if required.

Click here for the full story.


CatWalk in Huntingtons Research

Alix Morieux at Dundee University is using CatWalk to investigate motor symptoms in HdhQ111 mice. The system is playing a vital role in the assessment of gait and other parameters in the fight against Huntingtons disease.

Alix comments:-

'CatWalk is very useful as it enables me to sequence steps, walking speed, stance and intensity of footsteps, and to make a contribution to the on-going research into this devastating disease'

EthoVision used in study of synaptic physiology of neurons

Eisuke Koya at the School of Psychology, University of Sussex and graduate student Joe Ziminski are examining the synaptic physiology of neurons activated by sucrose-associated contextual cues. They use c-fos-GFP transgenic mice that express the green fluorescent protein (GFP) in behaviourally activated neurons. These mice are tested using EthoVision XT in a conditioned place preference procedure using sucrose as a reward.

Eisuke comments:-

EthoVision XT is an essential tool because it accurately tracks animal movement, is flexible when it comes to the design of the test arena and for specifying which precise areas of the test arena to analyse. Such flexibility is not found in behavioural analysis systems that detect the location of animals using infra-red beams. Furthermore, Dr Stephanie Body from Tracksys has provided excellent training and support. Our questions are answered promptly and throughly and this has added to the smooth user experience of the EthoVision system. 


Insights into shopper behaviour at Boots

Working with Vince Tickel of Carbon Marketing, Tracksys recently collaborated on a pilot study to look at the effect of packaging design and shelf position in the Christmas gift range at Boots. Wearing SMIs eye-tracking Glasses, shoppers were asked to browse through specific displays and select a gift for either themselves, or a family member. Initial results indicate that packaging design, size and placement are all important to shoppers.


SMI eyetrackers star at World Usability Day

SMI eyetrackers featured at the World Usability Day in London on November 14th. The annual event spreads the message about how usability of products and services impacts on our daily lives. Tracksys demonstrated the SMI  Glasses and Remote eyetracking systems to a group of user experience engineers organised by Unruly Media. The demonstration of eye tracking technology for practical UX research was streamed live via Google Hangout as part of the worldwide events on World Usability Day. For more infomation on the eyetrackers or the event contact us

Video Playback in The Observer XT

Over the years The Observer Video Module has expanded the range of video files that it can play, so most files can now be played directly in the format they were recorded in. (e.g. camcorder *.mov, *.mp4 files can now be played directly in The Observer XT 11.5).

There is, however, still a difference in performance between different media types, and playback is dependent upon the computer system being used. As an Observer user one appreciates very fast updating of the video image whatever the speed of play is, and however many videos there are.  We have had very good experiences with a range of video resolutions, including HD (1920 x 1080) files converted to *.mpg with the mpeg2 codec. We can help you achieve this easily – please do contact us.


11 March 2014

The Observer XT Training Workshop. Apply here

12 March 2013

EthoVision XT Training Workshop. Apply here


5-6 December 2013

Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB)

16 December 2013

British Ocular Motor Group (BOMG)

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