Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


CSIC develops a software able to identify and track an specific individual within a group


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.

... more about:
»CSIC »Drosophila »Nature »animals »species »vehicles »videos

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!

Further reports about: CSIC Drosophila Nature animals species vehicles videos

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Next Generation Cryptography
20.03.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Sichere Informationstechnologie SIT

nachricht TIB’s Visual Analytics Research Group to develop methods for person detection and visualisation
19.03.2018 | Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB)

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Thawing permafrost produces more methane than expected

20.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>