FicTrac: A visual method for tracking spherical motion and generating fictive animal paths

Moore, Richard J. D., Taylor, Gavin J., Paulk, Angelique C., Pearson, Thomas, van Swinderen, Bruno and Srinivasan, Mandyam V. (2014) FicTrac: A visual method for tracking spherical motion and generating fictive animal paths. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 225 106-119. doi:10.1016/j.jneumeth.2014.01.010

Author Moore, Richard J. D.
Taylor, Gavin J.
Paulk, Angelique C.
Pearson, Thomas
van Swinderen, Bruno
Srinivasan, Mandyam V.
Title FicTrac: A visual method for tracking spherical motion and generating fictive animal paths
Journal name Journal of Neuroscience Methods   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0165-0270
Publication date 2014-03-30
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2014.01.010
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 225
Start page 106
End page 119
Total pages 14
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier BV
Language eng
Subject 2800 Neuroscience
Abstract Studying how animals interface with a virtual reality can further our understanding of how attention, learning and memory, sensory processing, and navigation are handled by the brain, at both the neurophysiological and behavioural levels. To this end, we have developed a novel vision-based tracking system, FicTrac (Fictive path Tracking software), for estimating the path an animal makes whilst rotating an air-supported sphere using only input from a standard camera and computer vision techniques. We have found that the accuracy and robustness of FicTrac outperforms a low-cost implementation of a standard optical mouse-based approach for generating fictive paths. FicTrac is simple to implement for a wide variety of experimental configurations and, importantly, is fast to execute, enabling real-time sensory feedback for behaving animals. We have used FicTrac to record the behaviour of tethered honeybees, Apis mellifera, whilst presenting visual stimuli in both open-loop and closed-loop experimental paradigms. We found that FicTrac could accurately register the fictive paths of bees as they walked towards bright green vertical bars presented on an LED arena. Using FicTrac, we have demonstrated closed-loop visual fixation in both the honeybee and the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, establishing the flexibility of this system. FicTrac provides the experimenter with a simple yet adaptable system that can be combined with electrophysiological recording techniques to study the neural mechanisms of behaviour in a variety of organisms, including walking vertebrates.
Keyword Apis mellifera
Fictive path
Spherical treadmill
Visual fixation
Visual tracking
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
Official 2015 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 14 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 16 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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