Tutorial – Building a simple, low-cost DIY home-cage monitoring setup

Presenter: Michael Florea, Olden labs, USA

Schedule: Thursday 16th May 10:00 – 11:00 Meeting Room 5

Audience: Researchers interested in studying rodent behavior in home-cage and learning the basics of monitoring technology.  

Description: This tutorial will walk you through how to build simple, low-cost home-cage monitoring cages compatible with Allentown and Innovive racks. The system is based on Raspberry Pi and a night vision camera, uses existing cages and simple computer vision analysis to identify animal location and activity.

You will learn:

  1. The basics of Raspberry Pi microcomputers
  2. The basics of near-infrared-light camera optics and setup
  3. How to implement both day and night-time monitoring
  4. How to setup the open-source MotionEye OS monitoring software
  5. How to modify existing cages to be monitoring-compatible
  6. How to perform simple and fast video analysis using open-source Python CV2 library

At the end, you will:

  1. Know how to set up your own monitoring cages
  2. Have a detailed list of parts to purchase
  3. Have links and copies to software (MotionEye OS and Python CV2 scripts)
  4. Be able to run basic activity tracking, food intake and nesting analysis