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Tracker Program Description and Tutorial Video

Tracker is a program to track the path of animal movements in experiments.

Click on the screenshot below to see a brief tutorial video on how to use Tracker.


Download and Source Code

(Restricted to HouptLab Personnel)

Tracker Download

Tracker Project Code

Proposed Functionality


  1. Quicktime movies of experiment


  1. Numeric output
    1. Instantaneous
      1. time
      2. position
      3. orientation
    2. Derived
      1. velocity
      2. distance
      3. direction of motion
      4. measure of wall taxis
  1. Generated Movies
    1. Extracted data graphic.
    2. Overlay of extracted data graphic and original video.

Proposed Implementation

Time determined from Quicktime movie time stamps.

Position is average position of blob pixels.

Orientation is average vector from average position to blob pixels. Position and orientation can be used to define oval around body.

Direction of motion, velocity and distance are calculated from Time, Position and Orientation in the usual way.


Proposed Technology

Cocoa application.

Use QuickTime filter to convert video to 2-color B&W via brightness cutoff.

Filter (either QuickTime or after frame extraction) to clip non-experiment portion of video.

Frame-by-frame code to detect blob and calculate position, etc.

Alternative Implementation

Use grayscale instead of B&W. Position, etc would be calculated based on weighted pixels. This would be able to pick up sub-pixel changes and provide smoother and more accurate data.