EthoWatcher® is a computational tool FREELY AVAILABLE FOR NON-COMMERCIAL PURPOSES, developed by a team of post-graduate students working at the Laboratory of Bioengineering of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering (IEB-UFSC, Dept. of Electrical Engineering, EEL) and at the Laboratory of Comparative Neurophysiology (Dept. of Physiological Sciences) of the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), to support detailed ethography, video-tracking, and the extraction of kinematic variables from digital video files in laboratory animals.

      The tracking module allows for controlled segmentation of the animal from background in a video file, and automatically deliver image attributes that are used to calculate distance travelled, animal orientation, length and area, as well as a path graph.

       The ethography module allow users to build and use behavioral catalogues to record behavioral events on-line (from environment) and off-line (from video record files, continuously or frame-by-frame), producing reports of summaries on duration, frequency or latency of the recorded behaviors about the overall temporal sequence, and time-segmented.

        Its use is nearly self-explanatory and you'll also have a built-in, step-by-step tutor available all the time. The software project started informally in 2004 as a behavioral data-logger, and quickly evolved to support PhD and MSc works of the EthoWatcher® developers.  To date, this group includes Ricardo Bose, Cesar Pederiva, Vitor Augusto Garcia, Cesar Roberto Pamplona Filho and (with special emphasis) Carlos Crispim Jr., that contributed to different aspects of the software, under the supervision of José Marino-Neto (head of the  Laboratory of Bioengineering , IEB-UFSC), and used EthoWatcher®'s resources to investigate algorithms for artificial neural networks-based automated analysis and detection of behavioral patterns in lab animals.  


 The EthoWatcher have modules for ethography (either directly from the environment and from digital video files) and for tracking and extraction of kinematic data from  moving objects in a video file (Photos by Marino).




These guys are Carcarás (Polyborus plancus, Falconiformes) that lives nearby and showed up at the lab's window regularly, staring at us like an ethologist should do to other animals. Mr. ans Mrs. Carcaras were our inspiration to use the term "watcher"  for this software. (photos by Marino)



          The “EthoWatcher®” is registered in the Brazilian National Intellectual Property Institute (INPI) on the protocol number 09285-3, electronic journal No. 1982 . This software is freely distributed here and this is the only site authorized to provide EthoWatcher copies. Please read the software license agreement carefully before you install the software on your computer or make use of it. This software is protected by copyright according to the provisions for the protection of computer programs. The copyright includes in particular the program code, the documentation, the appearance, the structure and organization of the program files, the program name, logos and other forms of presentation within the software. All other rights stemming from copyright belong to the licensor.Warning: Unauthorized reproduction, modification or distribution of this program may result in criminal penalties.

Other important tools for behavioral neurobiologists

       There are a variety of systems for  behavioral recording and analysis available (some of them are also freely distributed). We view the EthoWatcher resources as just complementary or alternative to these programs. We would like to recommend a visit to their sites before you start your project, to find out the resources that better fit to your needs. 

  • The Etholog a fine brazilian free tool for behavioral recording and analysis.
  • JWatcher, a very powerful, free tool for the quantitative analysis of behavior
  • SOCPROG Programs for the analysis of animal social structure
  • Biobserve  - Viewer: powerful tools to automate a wide range of behavioral experiments
  • Tracksys Ltd  - tools for scoring behavior, video tracking, eyetracking and motion analysis
  • Virtual dub - tool to convert, compress and prepare video files for analysis
  •  the list is (fortunately) long. I'll try to keep it updated and growing. If you know some other interesting tools for ethography, please let me know and I'll be delighted to add them to this list.  


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