BehaviorCloud

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Multiple Integrations

BehaviorCloud and MazeEngineers integrate to provide one cohesive, end-to-end experience for efficiently running behavioral testing and analysis-- whether you're capturing video, beam data, telemetry or all of the above.

Introduction

BehaviorCloud allows the collection, analysis, and sharing of research data on a unified cloud platform. As opposed to traditional mediums of collection and analysis that is usually limited to a single device/system, BehaviorCloud allows the opportunity of remote connectivity to the experiments and the data. By using a secured cloud-based system, researchers can collaborate and share data anytime and anywhere without the worry of security. Furthermore, BehaviorCloud is compatible with Android and iOS mobile devices and can be used on multiple devices. Apart from the shareability and connectivity features, the platform allows researchers to take full advantage of cloud data streaming and storage.

In addition to allowing live streaming of the experiments, BehaviorCloud also offers the option of automated tracking of animal movements. Tracked behaviors of tasks such as Elevated Plus Maze and Open-Field Test can then be used to generate a range of data such as average velocity, number of visits and latencies. For more complex behaviors such as nesting and walking, the platform comes equipped with the augmented manual scoring feature. In many cases, no additional equipment is required in order to use BehaviorCloud and you can get started in minutes.

BehaviorCloud Set-up

Register with BehaviorCloud to create a secure cloud-based account for your research needs. To set-up BehaviorCloud in your facility, install the BehaviorCloud Camera application (for iOs systems click here and for Android systems click here) onto the devices intended to capture videos. The platform is compatible with most camera systems to allow you to take advantage of every camera available for your experiment. Download the calibration pattern (click here) required for calibration of the camera set-up. Additionally, the BehaviorCloud Hardware Bridge can be used to unify all internet-enabled lab instruments and allow real-time streaming directly to the BehaviorCloud account.

Maze Compatibility

The BehaviorCloud system is compatible with most rodent behavioral mazes and apparatuses including

·       Barnes Maze
·       Elevated Plus Maze
·       Forced Swim Test
·       Morris Water Maze
·       Open Field Test
·       Radial Arm Maze
·       Sociability Chamber
·       T-Maze
·       Y-Maze
·       Zero Maze

Best Practices

In order to take full advantage of BehaviorCloud, the following practices are recommended,

  • Ensure that the experimental set-up is well lit and in focus of the camera.
  • For experiments that require dim light or darkness, the use of red light or infrared-light source (based on device specifications) is recommended to capture clear videos.
  • Ensure that the experiments are recorded in a low traffic area to avoid shadows or other interferences from affecting the tracking or behaviors of the subjects.
  • Ensure all cameras are securely mounted/fixed, so they do not shift during recordings.
  • Ensure that the apparatus is maintained in a fixed position to avoid data discrepancies.
  • Ensure all your connected devices have access to a stable internet connection and power source.
  • A wide-angle lens is recommended for close up videos to achieve the desired field of view.

Strengths and Limitations

BehaviorCloud allows researchers to take advantage of cloud systems for their research needs. The cloud-based platform provides researchers with large data storage capacity while ensuring the security of the data. Further, the BehaviorCloud enables remote participation and collaboration on the same platform. These features allow easy sharing of experimental data across laboratories and observation of experiments via internet enabled devices including mobile phones.

BehaviorCloud is easy to set-up and is ready to use within minutes of setting up. The platform has a simple, user-friendly interface. All Internet-enabled devices in the laboratory can be connected to the platform and remotely controlled. BehaviorCloud is compatible with most camera devices. The automated tracking feature of BehaviorCloud allows tracking of behaviors in both live and pre-recorded videos. Additionally, data can also be analyzed manually on BehaviorCloud.

Video tracking can be affected by the camera quality. Appropriate lighting set-up must be used to obtain a clear video. It is recommended that the recordings be performed in a low traffic area to avoid any interferences from affecting the video recording or the subject’s performances. A wide-angle lens may be required for close-up videos to cover the desired area of recording. The positioning of the cameras and the apparatuses that are recorded should be constant throughout the recording to avoid data discrepancies.

Stream

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Use your mobile device to quickly start running live, video-based behavioral tracking or analyze existing videos you've captured

Track

BehaviorCloud can automatically analyze your videos to produce reliable positional data for maze and cage-based tests, as well as downstream variables such as distance traveled, average velocity, zone entries and more.

Zones

BehaviorCloud can automatically analyze your videos to produce reliable zone data for scoring geographical location within MazeEngineers mazes.

Live Recording Using BehaviorCloud

  1. Log-in to your BehaviorCloud account on all the devices being used for the experiment.
  2. Position and securely mount/fix cameras ensuring the tracking boundary is as tight as possible to the maze to exclude any extraneous movements.
  3. Using the device set for controlling the experiments, open the BehaviorCloud account in the browser and click My Tests in the left-hand menu. Create a new experiment by clicking the ­+’ (plus sign) at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen.
  4. Enter the Experiment Name and short description (optional) and select the Automated Video Tracking option from the drop-down menu.
  5. Click Run a Live Test to get directed to the experiment page.
  6. On the experiment page, click Calibration to initiate distance calibration. Place the printed calibration pattern into the maze in full view. Using the drop-down menu select the camera device to initiate distance calibration. Click Next to save and apply the distance calibration to the entire experiment.
  7. Following distance calibration, on the experiment page click Experiment Video and click the ­+’ (plus sign) to add a new trial.
  8. Using the drop-down menu select the desired recording device and enter the Subject ID and the trial length in seconds. Click the arrow on the clear arena prompt to advance to the next screen. Click the arrow on the insert subject prompt after placing the subject to begin trial recording.
  9. Trials will terminate as per the values entered, and a new prompt for the next subject will appear.

Uploading Video Files for Video Tracking

  1. Log-in to your BehaviorCloud account and click My Test in the left-hand menu. Create a new experiment by clicking the ­+’ (plus sign) at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen.
  2. Enter the Experiment Name and short description (optional) and select the Automated Video Tracking option from the drop-down menu.
  3. Choose the Upload Existing Data to get directed to the experiment page and upload the videos. Click Experiment Video to upload files individually or in bulk by dragging and dropping.
  4. On the experiment page, click Calibration to initiate distance calibration. Using the tools provided draw a line of known length on the preview image. Enter the values for the lines in centimeters. Click
  5. Click on the uploaded video and a tool for specifying timestamps will appear. Using the top slider set the timestamp for the background image when the arena is clear. Click Set Cleared Timestamp. Next, using the bottom slider set the timestamp for when the animal is inserted, and tracking should begin. Click Set Inserted Timestamp. Click Save and Finalize.

Data Analysis Using BehaviorCloud

  1. Log-in to your BehaviorCloud account and click My Test in the left-hand menu.
  2. On the experiment page, click Experiment Video to play back video or download raw video files as .mp4 files.
  3. On the experiment page, click Tracking Boundary to set area to be tracked. Using the shape tools provided cover the maze area and click Save. (Optional but recommended)
  4. Following setting of tracking boundary, on the experiment page select Raw Position Data to generate raw tracked data for the experiment. Tracked video data and locomotion path of the animal can be viewed and/or downloaded by clicking on the individual subjects once the analysis is complete.
  5. On the experiment page, set the zones of the maze by selecting Zone Maps. Enter the names for each zone and click Save. (Optional)
  6. For data analysis, on the experiment page select one of the following four options
    • Activity Analysis: Generates unzoned activity data.
    • Zoned Activity Analysis: Generates activity data broken into zones, according to the zones specified in Zone Maps.
    • Zoned Sequence Analysis: Lists the zones entered in order of entry.
    • Spontaneous Alternation: Calculates percent spontaneous alternation in three-arm mazes like Y-maze or T-maze.

A prompt to segment the trial into time bins will appear before generation of analyzed data. Values can be entered in seconds, or the field can be left black.

  1. Analyzed data can be downloaded as a .csv file and imported directly into a data visualization program or statistical analysis software.

Raw Output Variables

Raw Position Data
time

 

:An ISO8601 formatted date and time stamp
xcoordinate

 

:X coordinate of the subject relative to the upper left corner of the video, in microns
ycoordinate

 

:Y coordinate of the subject relative to the upper left corner of the video, in microns
Activity Analysis
totaltime

 

:Total test time in seconds
ambulatorytime:Total time the subject was moving, in seconds
distancetraveled:Total distance traveled, in cm
averagevelocity:Average velocity, in cm/s
starttime:The start time of trial as an ISO8601 formatted date and time stamp
restingtime

 

:Total time the subject was resting, in seconds
endtime

 

:End time of trial as an ISO8601 formatted date and time stamp
subject:Subject ID as provided by the user

Zone Output Variables

Zoned Sequence Analysis
time

 

:An ISO8601 formatted date and time stamp
zone:Zone name as provided by the user
subject:Subject ID as provided by the user
Spontaneous Alternation
spontaneousalternation:Percent alternation (number of triads / (number of arm entries – 2)) x 100
starttime:The start time of trial as an ISO8601 formatted date and time stamp
endtime:End time of trial as an ISO8601 formatted date and time stamp
subject:Subject ID as provided by the user
Zoned Activity Analysis
totaltime:Total time spent in the zone, in seconds
latency:Amount of time to first enter a zone, in seconds
ambulatorytime

 

:Total time the subject was moving within the zone, in seconds
zonename

 

:Name of the zone as provided by the user
distancetraveled:Total distance traveled within the zone, in cm
averagevelocity:Average velocity within a zone, in cm/s
starttime

 

:The start time of trial as an ISO8601 formatted date and time stamp
zoneentries:Number of entries into the zone
restingtime

 

:Total time the subject was resting within a zone, in seconds
endtime:End time of trial as an ISO8601 formatted date and time stamp
subject:Subject ID as provided by the user

Manual Scoring

Manual scoring in the BehaviorCloud can be performed on live videos as well as uploaded videos. For performing manual scoring on live videos

  1. Follow step 1 to 4 of Live Recording Using BehaviorCloud. In the last step select Manual Video Scoring in the drop-down menu for experiment type.
  2. On the experiment page, click Experiment Video. Set-up video recording by clicking the add icon at bottom right of the screen to record new subject.
  3. On prompt select the video streaming device and enter the subject ID and recording duration. Click the arrow to advance through the prompt screens to begin trial recording.
  4. Trials will terminate as per the values entered, and a new prompt for the next subject will appear.

For manual scoring using uploaded videos, the procedure will be the same as the Uploading Video Files for Video Tracking with the exception, instead of selecting the Automated Video Tracking option, select Manual Scoring option.

Following the video set-up follow the following steps to score the behaviors manually,

  1. On the experiment page, select Manual Scoring Configuration to set up behaviors to be scored.
  2. Click the add icon at the bottom right to add behaviors and their corresponding labels. Also, select if the event is timed (behaviors such as walking) or instantaneous (behaviors such as counting fecal boli).
  3. Group mutually exclusive behaviors by clicking the menu icon to the right of the behavior and selecting Group. Enter the Group Name and assign all relevant individual behaviors to their corresponding group. Follow the same process to ungroup behaviors.
  4. On the experiment page, select Manual Scoring Click Import Subject to bring all videos into the workspace. Click on the subject to playback the video. Score behaviors either by clicking a behavior from the list or using keyboard shortcuts. Behaviors can be deleted or edited on the timeline that appears under the video.
  5. Following completion of scoring, return to the experiment page and click Manual Scoring Analysis. Initiate analysis by clicking Generate Data.
  6. Individual subject data can be viewed in the browser or downloaded as a .csv file. Each behavior is also accompanied by the number of times the behavior occurred (count), the duration (total time), the beginning time of the first bout (latency), the beginning time of the last bout (last), and the behavior label and group ID.

Scoring

For behaviors and social interactions that are harder to quantify automatically, BehaviorCloud also provides mechanisms to easily define, observe and score custom behaviors while providing the same analysis capabilities available for automated tracking

Collaborations

Sharing means caring, and BehaviorCloud allows multiple collaborators in your experimentation. No more thumb drives or email attachments

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