CinePlex Tracking Option

CinePlex® Tracking is one of three advanced application-specific options to enhance the CinePlex Behavioral Research System. The CinePlex Tracking option offers arena definition and powerful automated tracking of time and positioning data via multiple tracking modes – both online and offline.

**CinePlex Software v3.6 now offers jitter elimination and more! **

CinePlex Tracking is a robust program that enables CinePlex Studio to analyze each video frame, determining the animal’s movement and position in time. Tracking can be performed live during acquisition of the video stream (from a camera) or offline (from files).  In either case, not only is the tracking data saved to a file, but the user can visualize all tracking data such as trajectories, positions and boundary crossings overlaid on the video frames as they play.  Researchers even have the power to adjust image parameters of the initial video files offline before running the existing or revised tracking algorithms.

Several different tracking modes are possible including:

  • Whole animal tracking, also referred to as object contour tracking
  • LED tracking for tracking colored LEDs fixed to headstages used primarily for research involving low to no light
  • Two reflective color marker tracking methods each supporting up to 12 unique colors

With whole body tracking, CinePlex Tracking is capable of expertly processing the video data even if the animal is multi-colored such the Long-Evans rat.  Further, it is capable of recording contour motion across adjacent video frames to detect freezing behavior in learning and memory research, most specifically for fear conditioning studies. CinePlex Studio now empowers researchers to avoid the tediousness, variability and low throughput nature of manual scoring by confidently automating the detection and resulting calculations. The user can average the motion measure, set the freezing threshold, span gaps if desired, and then generate markers around the resulting freezing episodes. Multiple sets of detected episodes can be created with varying parameters, reviewed, modified if needed, and saved for future analysis..

Researchers are able to record and track animal behavior for both diurnal and nocturnal subjects.  For behavior performed at night – or simply in the dark – CinePlex Tracking can operate under infrared conditions. If the animal is wearing a headstage, then equipping the headstage with LEDs and tracking accordingly can be advantageous.  Various data can be collected – such as motion measurements – depending on the mode selected.

CinePlex Tracking is exceptionally flexible, allowing the program to adapt to even the most complicated mazes or courses. Researchers are free to create multiple specified arenas of both simple and intricate shapes to operate with all possible mazes. Complex, internal algorithms take spatial definition a step further, establishing intelligent tracking windows around tracked objects to ignore reflections and spurious distractors.

When working with the OmniPlex or MAP System online, tracking coordinates are also available to online user-written programs via C/C++ and MATLAB® software development kits (SDKs). The SDKs permit further automation of the data manipulation, reducing human error and time required to manually analyze the data.  If working in stand-alone mode, coordinate data is available to other systems via a simple UDP Internet protocol.

CinePlex Tracking is a specialized program within CinePlex Studio, and is not available separately. A special license permits the user to access the advanced features.

You may also be interested in one or more of the other specialized application-specific options available within CinePlex Studio: CinePlex Basic Behavior and CinePlex 3D.  Beyond the CinePlex System, and if your freely behaving animal experiments involve neural data acquisition, other products such as our commutators, headstages and specialized headstage cables with ultra-fine wire and/or protective wraps may be of value to you.

To observe the CinePlex System in use during a freely behaving rat experiment, we invite you to view the methods section within the publication “Automated Visual Cognitive Tasks for Recording Neural Activity Using a Floor Projection Maze” authored by a team in Rebecca Burwell’s Behavioral Neuroscience of Memory and Attention Lab at Brown University and published in the Journal of Visualized Experimentation (JoVE) on February 20, 2014. The study presented uses CinePlex Studio with the CinePlex Tracking and CinePlex Basic Behavior options – integrated with the OmniPlex Neural Data Acquisition System for synchronized neural recording.

You are invited to contact a Plexon Sales Engineer for more information and to assist you in determining how to best configure the CinePlex System suite of programs to most effectively support your research.

CinePlex Tracking performs advanced – yet optional – functionality within CinePlex Studio.  The table below outlines selected information regarding CinePlex Tracking.  Click here for more information regarding CinePlex Software in general.

Features Specifications and Options Remarks
Coordinate dimensions Two-dimensional (2D) CinePlex Tracking supports tracking an animal in 2D, accounting for input from a single camera.  Tracking can be expanded to three dimensions via the CinePlex 3D option.
Tracking modes – Object contour (whole body)
– LED tracking
– Two reflective color marker tracking methods
Calibration must be performed in normal light. Three-dimensional tracking operates under normal light and under near infrared conditions.
Light condtions accomodated Daylight to dark environments CinePlex Tracking operates under normal light and under near infrared conditions.  All four tracking methods are applicable to daylight conditions; while whole body tracking using near infrared, or LED tracking, is most effective in the dark.  Flexibility permits recording diurnal and nocturnal behaviors.
Mazes and fields Arena definition supported to define simple and intricate shapes for operation with all possible mazes or open fields not limited to the Morris water maze, Radial arm maze, T-maze, Zero maze, Elevated plus maze, and Barnes maze. Arenas can be defined using standard shape tools (circle, oval, etc.) or drawn freehand.  Logical operations (AND, NOT, etc.) allow combining multiple arenas shapes to produce a single complex arena.
Visualizations Arenas and trajectories
Relationship to other CinePlex Studio application-specific options An independent option and does not require anything beyond CinePlex Studio to operate. Conversely, CinePlex Tracking is required for the successful operation of CinePlex Basic Behavior and CinePlex 3D.
Tracking data saved to .DVT and .AVI files
Data export options Excel®, MATLAB®, or text files
SDK Availabillity C/C++ and MATLAB 
Licensing Requires the purchase of a CinePlex System, plus a license key for CinePlex Tracking. All upgrades within a software version are free of charge and do not need a modification to the license key. Upgrades to the next version do require an updated key with expanded privileges.

Any questions? Ask a Plexon Sales Engineer. We are here to help you explore whether the CinePlex System is the best tool to launch you from experiment to publication the fastest.

Installation Packages/Upgrades

               Post date May 2, 2017

               Post date May 23, 2014

Manuals/User Guides

               Post date October 14, 2014. This user guide contains updated functionality for the use of CinePlex integrated with OmniPlex only.

               Post date February 2010. Comprehensive CinePlex User Guide through version 3.0.

               Post date February 2008.

Change Log

               Posted May 2, 2017

Technical Specs and Data Sheets

Research Articles with Video

               Jacobson, Tara K., Jonathan W. Ho, Brendon W. Kent, Fang-Chi Yang, and Rebecca D. Burwell. “Automated Visual Cognitive Tasks for Recording Neural Activity Using a Floor Projection Maze.” JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments) 84 (2014): e51316-e51316.