cBRAIN: Tracking all individuals and marking their brain activity for the study of collective brain research

cBRAIN: Tracking all individuals and marking their brain activity for the study of collective brain research
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Society for Neuroscience
Understanding the neural mechanisms underlying the collective behaviors in a group is limited by the ability to track each individual and monitor its neural activity at the same time. Traditional neural recording systems send information over wires restraining the animals’ habitat or behavior, whilst recently introduced innovative approach using telemetry still has limited capacity in simultaneous measurement of multiple individuals in a group. Here, we describe a novel method, cBRAIN (collective brain research aided by instant neurodisplay), which was developed for the purpose of tracking the position and certain neural activity of all naturally behaving individuals in a group. Basically, the cBRAIN is composed of its hardware and algorithm. Firstly, the cBRAIN hardware includes a headstage, CCD camera, and data logger. The 3.5-g weighted headstage is a telemetry featuring recording and data transmission, and blue and red LED lights indicating the position and the occurrence of user-set neural activity, respectively. Also, the headstage contains an internal counter to sync between headstages and a programmable log array for LED trigger working in a recognition scheme to detect the moment when the neural activity of interests occurs. The data logger records raw data up to eight headstages with sampling rate which is tunable up to 20 kHz. The CCD camera records the optical signals with 10~170 Hz sampling rate and a resolution of 2048 x 1088. Secondly, the cBRAIN algorithm has three main purposes: (i) tracking the position of individual mouse, (ii) detecting the moment of red LED on and merging it into the position data, and (iii) statistical mapping such as space occupancy and location map of neural activities of interest, and presentation of inter-agent proximity for the study of collective motion of a group. Finally, we demonstrate a study of social hierarchy in a group using cBRAIN. A classification algorithm for
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