Video Tracking System for the Morris Water Maze
WaterMaze, designed in collaboration with Richard Morris (University of Edinborough), is an entirely new concept for taking the strain out of running Morris water maze experiments. WaterMaze incorporates a unique Project Manager for designing and executing complex experiments with multiple animals, starting points and platform positions. Reference memory, working-memory and other designs in which trials are interleaved in different ways can be accommodated easily. Once the Project parameters are specified, each day WaterMaze tells the user which animal to run next and to which platform. Even the most complex experiments can be run accurately and efficiently, for high-throughput experiments.
WaterMaze’s analysis capabilities are unparalleled. Analyses can be viewed for single trials or exported for multiple trials directly to Excel (WaterMaze even opens Excel for you). Scan through hundreds of trials easily with clickable animal and trial lists. Parameters include thigmotaxis, Moser’s zones, Whishaw’s corridor, Gallagher’s proximity, quadrant times and crossings and more. Suggestions for new analyses from our users are regularly incorporated. Swim paths can be exported to standard drawing programs. Movies of each trial can be stored and viewed in the WaterMaze Analysis windows or exported to PowerPoint and other presentation software.
WaterMaze’s tracking is robust and easy to set up with standard CCD cameras and video boards. No special lighting or video-processing hardware is necessary. Landmarks or other cues of any color can be arranged in and around the pool without affecting tracking. Multiple remote control switches can be placed around the pool, and the program can control multiple On-Demand (Atlantis) Platforms. Movies of each trial can be stored for later review or for export in QuickTime format to PowerPoint or other presentation software.
WaterMaze goes far beyond existing programs in its ease of use and flexibility. Because it is designed in close consultation with users, WaterMaze is integrated seamlessly with the experiment. It is already in use in excellent laboratories in academia and in industry, including the laboratory where the watermaze was originally developed, and is poised to become the industry standard.