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January 2015 TechTip

Video Tracking Experiment Control

If your acquisition setup utilizes video tracking through Cheetah DAS, additional Netcom applications can be used in tandem to provide experiment control.

One example of this utilizes Zoned Video and Event Responder. With these two programs, and the NetCom Router, the subject’s movement in the environment can output specific events to Cheetah. These events can then be used to trigger any software response, such as start and stop recording, or a hardware response, such as a TTL pulse output from the Digital Lynx SX itself. Below is a brief description on how to set up an experiment like this.

After setting Cheetah up with all the required acquisition settings for both neural and video recording, start the NetCom Router. Establish a connection to Cheetah from the router’s interface. Once this is complete, launch both the Zoned Video and Event Responder applications, establishing a connection to Cheetah from their interfaces. (More information is available in the user guides of each application.)

In Zoned Video, create the desired number of zones and their areas according to the subject’s environment. Please note: Zoned Video only displays the threshold image established in Cheetah.

Start the data stream in Event Responder from the Networking file menu. In Cheetah DAS, open the Event Display window located under the View button on the menu bar. Every time the Video Tracker detects the Headstage “Entering” and “Exiting” a zone, an Event will be created in Cheetah with the respective Timestamp when the Event occurred.

Test the Video Tracker setup by moving the LED-equipped Headstage connected to the acquisition system through the recording environment, allowing it to pass through all the zones created in Zoned Video. Attempt to simulate the movement of the research subject to accurately portray movement through the environment. An Event with the Zone number should be created each time the Headstage passes “Enter” or “Exit” barriers of any zone.

In Event Responder, select the “Add Event” button below the Event List area and type in the desired Cheetah Event String name you wish to respond to, as either a zone entered or zone exited. Ensure that the exact name with exact spacing is entered in this field for proper event response. You can set up any number of response commands to event strings. Each event string can then have an Event Property associated with it.

  • The event string “Zoned Video: Zone0 Entered” will have a response of outputting a TTL from the Digital Lynx SX system on Port 0 Bit 6: -DigitalIOTtlPulse AcqSystem1_0 0 6 High.

Several trial runs should be done prior to running your experiment to ensure all proper input and output commands and responses are received. Specific commands that can be utilized are available in the Cheetah Reference Guide along with other helpful information.

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