Oral Presentation Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Australasia 2021

TrackingBot: an automated organism tracking software suite for custom behavioral experiments. (#148)

Yutao Bai 1 , Jason Henry 1 , Donald Wlodkowic 1
  1. The Neurotox Laboratory, School of Science, RMIT University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Video recording based small aquatic model organism tracking is an essential technique for behavioural phenotypic analysis in aquatic ecotoxicology and neuroactive drug discovery. High-throughput behaviour experiments requires automated workflow, both hardware and software wise, for researchers to collect and extract biometric data fast and effectively. However, researchers in ecology field often lack the know‐how to implement these solutions for their specific tracking needs. The software solutions for animal tracking that available at present are mostly commercial proprietary software, which are expensive and hence inhibited many research groups from access.

In this work we present TrackingBot, an open-source software for automated object tracking. The software can track organisms from pre-recorded videos as well as on real-time video feed. TrackingBot is 1) fast and robust, 2) easy‐to‐use with an intuitive graphical user interface and 3) capable of real-time closed-loop hardware control for operant conditioning experiments 4) compatible with all operating systems. We compare the performance of TrackingBot with major commercial and open-source software and demonstrate its potential as a reliable tool for various animal tracking experiments.