The program, idTracker, detects and follows every animal in the videos and allows to know the behavior rules of their social interaction
Researchers from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) have developed a software based on the discovery of some algorithms that enable the identification of each individual, therefore allowing their tracking within the group. Thus, the door opens to the quantitative study of the rules of social interaction for many species. The work has been published in the Nature Methods journal.
Animals that move in groups make decisions considering what other members of their community do. To find out the rules of these interactions, researchers record monitoring videos through which they study the behavior of different individuals. However, existing monitoring methods so far show identification errors throughout the video, which makes that assignment of identity is wrong.
Researchers from the Cajal Institute (CSIC) have developed a software called idTracker, a CSIC patent that enables tracking of animals through identification. The image of the individual, with its unique features, becomes the particular "footprint" of each animal, which allows tracking it although the human visual system can not. Even if they hide or temporarily disappear from the scene, these are recognized by the program when they enter the scene again.
Gonzalo G. de Polavieja, CSIC researcher and head of the study, states: "From now on, we will be able to quantitatively determine the rules of animal behavior in groups taking into account the individuality of each animal".
Frame by frame tracking
The software identification system first performs a search of the specimens when they are separated and can be differentiated. Since then, the program identifies and recognizes its image in every frame of the video. The identification is automatically done by extracting the 'footprint' of each animal. Thus, the routes that each of them took can be determined. De Polavieja adds: "Furthermore, it is possible to study the same individual in several videos because its 'footprint' is always the same. This enables a better understanding of their behavior".
Researchers claim that idTracker is a very easy to use software that can be used with a variety of different species. They state: "We have done tests with fish (Danio rerio and Oryzias latipes), flies (Drosophila melanogaster), ants (Messor structor) and mice (Mus musculus), but it can be applied to other animals".
And among the applications of this software, Alfonso Pérez Escudero, CSIC researcher also during the preparation of this study, notes that "in the short term, this will be used in science, but in the longer term, the method we have developed can be applied to recognize people in large crowds, vehicles or parts in a factory, for instance".
Alfonso Pérez-Escudero, Julián Vicente-Page, Robert C. Hinz, Sara Arganda y Gonzalo G. de Polavieja. idTracker: Tracking individuals in a group by automatic identification of unmarked animals. Nature Methods. DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.2994
María González | Eurek Alert!
Superfast fluorescence sets new speed record
27.07.2015 | Duke University
Two crystals are better than one
22.07.2015 | The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
Researchers have developed an ultrafast light-emitting device that can flip on and off 90 billion times a second and could form the basis of optical computing.
Joint BioEnergy Institute study identifies bacterial protein that is key to protecting rice against bacterial blight
A bacterial signal that when recognized by rice plants enables the plants to resist a devastating blight disease has been identified by a multi-national team...
Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin are one step closer to delivering smart windows with a new level of energy efficiency, engineering materials that allow windows to reveal light without transferring heat and, conversely, to block light while allowing heat transmission, as described in two new research papers.
By allowing indoor occupants to more precisely control the energy and sunlight passing through a window, the new materials could significantly reduce costs for...
Argonne scientists used Mira to identify and improve a new mechanism for eliminating friction, which fed into the development of a hybrid material that exhibited superlubricity at the macroscale for the first time. Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) researchers helped enable the groundbreaking simulations by overcoming a performance bottleneck that doubled the speed of the team's code.
While reviewing the simulation results of a promising new lubricant material, Argonne researcher Sanket Deshmukh stumbled upon a phenomenon that had never been...
A NASA camera on the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite has returned its first view of the entire sunlit side of Earth from one million miles away.
The color images of Earth from NASA's Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) are generated by combining three separate images to create a...
23.07.2015 | Event News
10.07.2015 | Event News
25.06.2015 | Event News
28.07.2015 | Life Sciences
28.07.2015 | Materials Sciences
28.07.2015 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation