- Automated Home Cage Monitoring Software


Rodent behaviour analysis plays a vital role in drug discovery, from the development of disease models through to safety pharmacology. Through the NC3Rs CRACK-IT Challenges (in partnership with Astra Zeneca, MRC Harwell, University of Strathclyde, University of Edinburgh and The NC3Rs, we have developed an innovative home cage analysis system that provides 24/7 monitoring of rodent behaviours in a group-housed environment that is beneficial from both data and welfare perspectives. This is the next generation of Rodent analysis technology surpassing all other technologies and methods available today.

Rodents in research labs live in small social groups in highly optimised plastic home cages where they thrive and grow. Inside such ‘hotels’ the animals eat, drink, sleep, interact and behave yet these data are not captured due to technical challenges. We have developed a system that uniquely tags each individual animal so we know identity within the group and add onto this video analytics to record and analyse behaviours including activity/immobility, thigmotaxis, circadian rhythms, social grouping etc. Critically we use unmodified home cages so our solution has minimal impact on current animal husbandry procedures.

Actual Analytics’ expertise in the development of algorithms to track and extract behaviours from video and other telemetry is central to our solution. We can also learn to recognise new behaviours, for example from videos marked up by experts. When extended to include infrared lighting and scalable computing the system can run 24hrs per day for periods of days to months. Put simply, our solution transforms these research hotels into a next generation laboratory.

The ability to gather extensive and detailed behavioural data from animals in their normal homecage environment has very obvious 3Rs impacts. Refinement: firstly the behavioural data collected is entirely non invasive and based on observing group behaviour in the homecage. Reduction: secondly, the quantity of longitudinal data gathered provides additional statistical power meaning fewer animals are required.

  • 24x7 recording and analysis
  • Multiple subjects of group housed animals, identity retained
  • In the real home cage
  • Major 3Rs benefits

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