Saturday, November 2, 2013

Open Field Workshop Announcement

HVS Image are presenting an Open Field Workshop at SFN 2013. Anyone can attend - just visit booth 335. See their announcement below:

Society for Neuroscience 2013

Timetable for Scientists interested in Morris Water Maze, T Maze, Y Maze, Elevated Plus Maze, Barnes Maze, Radial Arm Maze, Open Field, Novel Object Recognition, VNST Virtual Navigation on a Spherical Treadmill, Human Virtual Maze, Dry Analogs of Water Maze and Custom Protocols

Saturday, 9 November, 2013:
16:30 Toast some marshmallows on the open flames see the sunset over the Pacific. Network and chat with other behavioral neuroscientists and meet HVS Award Winners at the 4th floor Pool Bar & Grill MANCHESTER GRAND HYATT SAN DIEGO, One Market Place, San Diego, California, USA, 92101

Sunday, 10 November,2013:
11:00 Milk & Cookies! 11am every day drop by and join us for free milk (and soft drinks) and freshly baked cookies from "Uncle Biff's Killer Cookies" San Diego's tastiest cookies.  "They really do make the perfect chocolate chip cookie." Free milk too. Make sure you come in time - they'll go fast! At booth 335.
11:15 HVS Image 2013 Special Presentation:  Dr Jhodie Duncan, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Department Anatomy & Neuroscience: At booth 335.
Chronic Intermittent Toluene Inhalation During Adolescence Alters Reinforcement Learning & Causes Long-Term Glutamatergic Dysfunction.

11:40 HVS Image 2013 Special Presentation:  Matthew R Holahan, PhD., Department of Neuroscience, Carleton University: At booth 335.
Connectivity-based changes during a late, postnatal developmental period in the hippocampus

16:00 HVS Image regalia give away. T-Shirts, Mugs, Pens, hats.  At booth 335.
21:00 Free Drink and Scientist Meetup at top San Diego Nightclub - The Altitude Sky Lounge  (tickets only - pick a ticket up from us any time at booth 335)
Monday, 11 November,2013:
11:00 Milk & Cookies! 11am every day drop by and join us for free milk (and soft drinks) and freshly baked cookies from "Uncle Biff's Killer Cookies" San Diego's tastiest cookies.  "They really do make the perfect chocolate chip cookie." Free milk too. Make sure you come in time - they'll go fast!  At booth 335.
11:15 HVS Image 2013 Special Presentation:  Áine Mary Duffy, Ph.D., Center for Dementia Research, The Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research:  At booth 335.
Thioflavin-S staining and an antibody to amyloid-β (Aβ), 6E10, were used to examine Aβ-plaque. 
11:40 HVS Image 2013 Special Presentation:  Bechara Saab, PhD, Brain Research Institute, University of Zurich:  At booth 335.
Studying the platform-relocation version of the water maze. A method paper on the technique which discusses the theoretical and practical implications of the paradigm.

16:00 HVS Image regalia give away. T-Shirts, Mugs, Pens, hats. At booth 335.

Tuesday, 12 November, 2013
11:00 Milk & Cookies!. 11am every day drop by and join us for free milk (and soft drinks) and freshly baked cookies from "Uncle Biff's Killer Cookies" San Diego's tastiest cookies.  "They really do make the perfect chocolate chip cookie." Free milk too. Make sure you come in time - they'll go fast!  At booth 335.
11:15 HVS Image 2013 Special Presentation: Nokuthula Makena, Department of Human Biology, University of Cape Town:
Elevated plasticity-related protein levels post-exercise do not predict the outcome of spatial learning and memory in the Morris Water Maze task in maternally separated rats. At booth 335.

14:00 The Special Behavioral Techniques Workshop:

  • Morris Water Maze (Dr Jhodie Duncan PhD)
  • Open Field (Dr Bechara Saab PhD)
  • Plus Maze (Dr Matthew Holahan PhD)
  • Novel Object Recognition/placement (Dr Áine Duffy PhD)
16:00  HVS Image regalia give away. T-Shirts, Mugs, Pens, hats.

Wednesday, 13: November,2013:
11:00 Milk & Cookies! 11am every day drop by and join us for free milk (and soft drinks) and freshly baked cookies from "Uncle Biff's Killer Cookies" San Diego's tastiest cookies.  "They really do make the perfect chocolate chip cookie." Free milk too. Make sure you come in time - they'll go fast!  At booth 335.
12:00 $250 iTunes and Amazon card give-aways. If you might be interested in ordering HVS Image Software soon drop in to booth 335 and get a voucher that will give you your choice of a $250 iTunes and Amazon card when you order. At booth 335.
If you are interested in Morris Water Maze, T Maze, Y Maze, Elevated Plus Maze, Barnes Maze, Radial Arm Maze, Open Field, Novel Object Recognition, VNST Virtual Navigation on a Spherical Treadmill, Human Virtual Maze, Dry Analogs of Water Maze or Custom Protocols come to booth 335 at any time to chill out on our sofas, get your cell phone charged or to tell us about your tracking and analysis needs.
HVSImage Software Ltd.
Copyright HVS Image Software Ltd © 2013 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Craft, Above All

Visiting labs I keep on coming across 25 year old HVS Image VP112s still working perfectly and typically now outlasting their original owners and PIs, although now it is nearly impossible to find a personal computer that will link to the old RS232 interface far more run the old MS-DOS 3.1 software.

Thinking about the old VP112s reminds me of Walter Isaacson's comments on Steve Jobs's design philosophy. Under Jobs, Apple became famous for a level of craft that seemed almost gratuitous: For example, on the "Sunflower" Macintosh of a few years ago, there was an exquisitely fine, laser-etched Apple logo. As an owner, you might see that logo only once a year, when moving the computer. But it mattered, because that single time made an impression. 

If you remember the old VP110s, VP112s and VP118s you'll remember that HVS Image followed the seminal phrase coined by architect Louis Sullivan's - that "form ever follows function. This is the law." So there are no engraved Sunflowers but if you ever look inside and HVS Image VP - as I looked inside some of the earliest HVS Image trackers in the 1970s and architecture which was not just clean and orderly but was organised to perfection - every wire every, circuit board, every component in its place. PIs may not have see the deep beauty of the VP112 (although they appreciated the elegant simplicity of the interface), but many a technician did and any that where around at that time would not be surprised to see them working now without a glitch. 

Just like Steve Jobs this level of craft was one of the first design lessons that I ever got, and like Jobs this was learned at the hands of my father. 

My childhood home was lined with robot components (early machine vision system, robot arms as well as autonomous vehicles) and physics texts rather than fences and cabinets, but still - the lesson was learned and the philosophy continues in HVS Products.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Analysis techniques for Dry Mazes, Morris Water Maze and the Open Field Test

Characterization and Quantification of Spatial Learning Strategies.

These really fall into the category of sharing ones own notebook with the online community and I'm afraid without scaffolding - but I still welcome informed feedback. We've been looking at an additional "derivative" class of analysis parameters that might be shared over multiple assays. These include turning latency, decision frequency and decisional entropy.  There is a considerable similarity between some of my previous predictive behavior work and OFT/MWM etc in that the concept of choice modeling as a temporal Markov chain occurs in both.  Looking at the way things are modelled, measuring the first differential of the data refocuses the assay in the subjects decision making process and search strategies and moves the analysis to an animal centred approach from what is otherwise a meta analytical approach.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Open Field Test Analysis

Here are the new screenshots of the HVS Image Open Field Test Analysis module in HVS Image 2013. Its set to a 5x5 grid but actually grid sizes can be anything from 2x2 to 255x255. As always you can define HVS Custom files but now you you choose the special areas in the Open Field Test Analysis by pointing and clicking on them. Multiple files are selected by clicking and multi-selecting the source data files.

Open Field Test Analysis

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Animal testing - the facts and the figures

Keeping you informed

Amid the furore and frenzy, it is easy to lose sight of the facts in the animal rights debate. So here is the reality of vivisection in the UK.
Report by Jonathan Brown

The regulations

  • All testing involving animals in the United Kingdom is licensed by the Home Office. 
  • Research is governed primarily under the 1986 Animal Procedures Act. There are European Union directives covering testing and treatment of animals as well as individual industry best-practice agreements. 
  • The Government stopped publishing details of animal testing licences in 1986. It plans to begin publishing anonymous summaries of the licences in the autumn. 
  • Less than 10 per cent of biomedical research uses animals. 
  • The numbers of experiments peaked in 1976, when five million procedures were carried out. 
  • According to the most recent Home Office statistics, 2.73 million animals were used in tests in 2002.
  • That was an increase of 110,000 on the previous year (4.2 per cent). 
  • BUAV estimates 100 million animals are used in testing worldwide. Between 10 million and 11 million were used in the European Union. The UK is the largest user in the EU. 
  • Animals bred for research but subsequently killed as "surplus" - of which campaigners claim there are millions - are not included in statistics. 
  • In order to gain a licence the Government evaluates the "severity banding" of individual proposals. Those bands are divided into mild, moderate and severe suffering. That is weighed against the eventual benefits of the experiment to humans. 

 The medicine 

  • All drugs licensed for use in Britain have been tested on animals. 
  • The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry estimates it takes between 10 and 12 years to develop a new medicine and costs £350m. 
  • The industry invested £3.2bn in UK research in 2002, accounting for nearly a quarter of all industrial research and development. 
  • Pharmaceutical exports were £10.03bn last year, a trade surplus of £2.6bn. 
  • Some 70,000 people are employed in the pharmaceuticals industry, with 250,000 other jobs in related industries. 
  • Twelve of the medicines most prescribed by GPs were created in Britain. 
  • In its defence, the pharmaceutical industry estimates that individual medicines now cost 12 per cent less in real terms than they did 10 years ago. But the total NHS drugs bill has more than doubled from £3bn to £6bn. The cosmetics 
  • Testing of cosmetics on animals was outlawed in Britain in two phases between 1997-98. 
  • Campaigners say animal research for cosmetics is now done overseas, much in the US. 
  • Household products are still tested on animals in Britain. In the Draize Eye Test, irritants are dripped into the eyes of rabbits. 
  • Non-toxic procedures account for 82 per cent of all animal tests in Britain. 
  • Of toxicological tests last year, 61 per cent were for pharmacological safety and efficiency. 
  • The Medical Research Council applies the three Rs in funding animal research: reducing the number used in study, replacing animals in experiments, and refining tests to minimise suffering. 
  • Estimates show 38,000 animals are killed in the EU in cosmetic tests. As of 2013, marketing animal-tested cosmetics will be banned in Europe. The animals 
  • Mice, rats and other rodents account for 84 per cent of the total animals used in British experiments. *The remainder comprise birds (5 per cent) and fish (7 per cent). Dogs, cats, horses and primates account for less than 1 per cent of the procedures. 
  • The number of procedures using non-human primates last year was 3,977, nine fewer than the previous year. 
  • Research with great apes - gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans and bonobos - was banned in 1998.
  • The use of primates is the most controversial area of animal testing policy. The most commonly used ones are marmosets and macaques. 
  • The Medical Research Council (MRC) which provides public funds for animal research do not normally support work using wild-caught primates. Any used should be from captive-bred sources in Britain. The testers 
  • Universities perform most experiments, about 40 per cent, followed by commercial companies (37 per cent), charities (6 per cent), and Government departments (5 per cent). Most universities have animal-testing facilities. Main ones are Oxford and Cambridge. Both have met opposition in building primate research laboratories. Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham, Surrey and Strathclyde are also among main testers. 
  • Huntingdon Life Sciences, in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, tests household cleaners, paints and food colourings as well as pharmaceuticals. It uses rodents, rabbits, dogs and monkeys 
  • Covance, in North Yorkshire, tests for pharmaceuticals and non-drug testing on all types of animals. 
  • Wickham Labs Ltd, based in Hampshire, uses smaller animals for non pharmaceutical products. 
  • Quintiles Ltd, in Edinburgh, tests a wide range of products on animals including dogs. 
  • Inveresk, Edinburgh-based, tests a wide range of products on a range of animals including dogs. 
  • Safepharm, in Derbyshire, mainly tests chemicals & household products on smaller animals. 
  • BIBRA (British Industrial Biological Research Association), in Surrey, specialises in testing food 
  • additives. Many hospitals perform animal tests, including Northwick Park Hospital, North London Guy's & St Thomas's Hospital, London, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and Bristol Royal Infirmary.


  • Caroline Richmond Cancer sufferer "I was among the first people to have monoclonal antibody therapy which was tested on mice in the 1990s. I would not be alive today without animal research."
  • Diane Gracey MS sufferer "Obviously, I have got a vast interest in them finding a cure for MS but we need animal research for Alzheimer's, Aids, motor-neurone syndrome, muscular dystrophy and cancer. I support research."
  • Colin Blakemore Medical Research Council "There are still things that must be studied in a living organism, and the MRC believes animal experiments are essential in the fight against Aids, cancers and genetic and psychiatric disease."
  • AG Lafley, Chairman, Procter & Gamble, "We are proud of our leadership in the development and adoption of alternatives to animal testing. We are committed to making progress that can eliminate the need for animal testing."
  • Lord Winston Imperial College, "There needs to be clearer communication for the public about how valuable it is. Many people have no idea what's going on because so few scientists are prepared to put their head above the parapet."
  • Anonymous molecular biology PhD student, "When I started working on animals, I thought vivisection was absolutely necessary. I still do believe it is necessary but I am less comfortable with the moral issues."


  • Robert Cogswell Spokesman, Speak "There is a misconception that animal-rights activists are anti-science. We're pro-science but anti using animals for humans. This is not the cutting edge of medical research.'' 
  • Robin Webb, spokesman, Animal Liberation Front "This is the ultimate liberation struggle, to free all individuals, irrespective of race, gender or species. It's about respect for the individual. Each individual should be allowed to live their life in the way nature intended.
  • Wendy Higgins, BUAV "A few years ago, the Government banned great ape experiments, a token gesture because no great ape experiments had been done in the UK for 20 years. Britain still remains the monkey-killing capital of Europe." 
  • Greg Avery, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty "We're against violence on human beings and animals. There's been a lot of media hysteria. People need to look at the facts. It's a funny terrorist organisation which hasn't killed anyone."
  • Andrew Tyler Director, Animal Aid "We condemn all violence against animals and people but there are high levels of frustration. No one died animal protesting, except three animal-rights advocates. How can we be terrorists?"
  • Bob Combes Director, Frame "We want to replace all animal experimentation, but an immediate ban isn't the answer. You have to have safe and effective products and good-quality medical research."

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New Open Field Software Analysis Screen

Preview of the new Open Field Analysis Module from HVS Image. Also good for Novel Object Recognition. More details as we get them!

More about supported Cameras for HVS Image 2013 Water Maze, Multi Maze and Open Field

HVS Image only officially supports the Microsoft LifeCam for the HVS Image 2013 but here is an unofficial list of camera's that should work with the HVS Image 2013 Hydrogen release (2013.1)  and the forthcoming Helium release (2013.2). 2013 is designed to work at 640x480

Apple iSight camera
Ases Motherboard with Firewire Video and USB audio, Panasonic & Canon consumer cameras.
AverMedia DVD EZCapture
AverMedia TV Card 007
AverMedia TV Card 203
AverMedia TV Card 303
AverMedia TV Card USB Box
AverMedia TV Card Volar AX USB
Axis 205
Axis IP/network/wireless cameras
DeckLink HD Extreme PCIe
EZcapture SDK,Avermedia capture board
Gadmei capture board
Hauppauge PCI
Hauppauge WinTV
Intex Gravity USB TV Box
Intex TV Tuner Card
IVC PCI-grabber cards
Linksys WVC54GCA 
Linksys WVC54GCA 
Logictec QuickCam Pro5000 
Logitech 4000 webcam
Logitech ProCam 9000
Logitech Quick Cam USB 2.0 (lost the model)
Logitech QuickCam for Notebooks Deluxe
Logitech QuickCam Fusion
logitech QuickCam Sphere MP
Microsoft Lifecam VX-6000
Nvidia GeForce XFX 7800 GTX
Odyssey TV Tuner ODY503
Philips SPC900, does 30 FPS
Philips ToUCam
Philips Vesta
pinnacle 500-USB
Pinnacle Capture PCI-500
Pinnacle PC TV 50i
Pixel View TV Tuner card
Princeton Technology PCA-DAV
Princeton Technology PCA-DAV2
Zarbeco, LLC; USB 2.0 VideoLink frame grabber
Zarbeco, LLC; ZC105 1.3 megapixel camera
Zarbeco, LLC; ZC305 3.1 megapixel camera
Zarebco, LLC; MiScope USB digital microscope