Study of the animal behavior as reaction to compounds input. BVision is a robust system developed for computerize studying the effect of different compounds on the spatial orientation and memory ability of experimental animals (Morris water maze test).
For: universities, pharmacology companies, ecology organizations, and large hospitals.
The software was implemented in the Institute of Physiologically Active Compounds of Russian Academy of Science (IPAC RAS).
Data structure and storage.
BVision incorporates flexible database management system. Main elements of this database are tracks and experiments. "Track" is representation of a single animal race containing temporal and spatial information about its motion; "experiment" is a set of tracks obtained at the same or different conditions. All the information about the experiment including the position of the track on the videotape is stored in the database, so the tracks can be played back or digitized once again (if required). The database contains as well other information such as compound used for treatment of each animal, its dose, animal sex and any researcher-written text comments, i.e., the program can be used as a laboratory journal.
When the animal is found, its position is calculated via special algorithm analyzing its shape (for example, the tail and other protruding parts of the animal are discarded to obtain more accurate position of the rat).
There are other tracking options, such as selection of the sample rate, scan window, pretracking options (setting time delay so that user could set the rat on water), etc.
At the tracking process all relevant information is shown in BVision in real time in separate windows ("live" video, trajectory, elapsed time, speed, etc.). When measuring of the current track is finished it is saved immediately on the hard drive so that the database will not crush, and tracks will not be lost if something happens with power, for example. A "streaming" mode of the experiment where tracking is started automatically at appearance of an animal in the pool and stopped at certain conditions is available in our system as well being very convenient for tests of a large number of animals.
BVision video system includes S-VHS video recorder with RS-232 port. The recorder of S-VHS system was chosen due to its higher resolution in comparison with standard VHS. You can make full control of VCR operations through the program (not touching VCR buttons).
The following parameters are calculated: escape latency, possibility to account for time of active swimming only (with speed lower than selected threshold), trajectory length, speed, index of "passive" swimming (to characterize decrease of animals' mobility), time in zone of interest (ZOI) (selection of different cumulative zones is available); % of tracks failed to find the platform and number of animals which found the platform for different time periods set by user (in % from animals number in each group), etc. For calculation of the tracks directionality straightness index (very effective estimation), cumulative and reverse cumulative distance to platform (path-averaged), different angle characteristics of movement relative the platform, Whishaw "alley" index which we referred to as "corridor" index are used. Discrimination of different behavioral characteristics within one experiment is allowed due to combination of these parameters.
We have the possibility to visualize both single tracks or selected track groups. You can see several different graphical representations (as well as mean±SEM values) of the calculated parameters that help you easy estimate the effect obtained. Both the calculated means±SEM and values for single tracks can be presented in BVision in different graphic form and saved into ASCII format for further statistical analysis.
The analysis can be applied to arbitrary combination of tracks or/and experiments. It can be useful when, for example, control groups from different experiments should be analyzed together. BVision has good possibilities for visualization of single tracks and their groups.
The minimal system requirements are:
- Processor (CPU): Pentium II, 266 Mhz (100% Intel compatible)
- Internal memory (RAM): 64 Mb
- Hard disk: 1.0 GB free space
- CD-ROM drive x2
- Video memory: not required since video card is combined with framegrabber
- Graphics resolution: 1024 x 768
- Operating system: Windows95, 98, 2000