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CanaryTank: a plug-in husbandry behavior tracking system for health of fish facilities

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 9R44MH135532-03
Agency Tracking Number: R44MH135532
Amount: $1,014,465.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 101
Solicitation Number: PA22-176
Solicitation Year: 2022
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-07-11
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2025-05-31
Small Business Information
Menlo Park, CA 94025-5736
United States
DUNS: 867530206
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (650) 326-5030
Business Contact
Phone: (650) 326-5030
Research Institution

Project Summary/AbstractZebrafish, involved in research projects totalling over 450 million dollars of NIH funding in 2020, are the
fastest growing animal model of human disease in medical research today. Thus, the health and wellbeing of
medical research fish is paramount as the rigor and repeatability of experiments depends on it. Innovation in
zebrafish husbandry systems is crucially needed because current state-of-the-art non intrusive systems only
track water quality measures. No commercial husbandry system has adopted automatic monitoring of fish
behavior using video, despite the fact that most factors crucial in assessing fish health and well being, such as
hunger, anxiety, or light changes, produce well known behavioral signatures that a computer vision system
could detect. Because many such signatures require high temporal resolution, milliseconds in the case of
escape movements, video monitoring has been hampered by the need to create and process enormous data
volumes. Here, the proposed effort aims at building upon our Phase I success of prototyping the
proof-of-concept system codenamed “CanaryTanks”. We have installed CanaryTank with sentinel zebrafish
populations directly into the racks of an existing fish facility and used our original "Remanent Imaging"
paradigm to monitor and analyze fish swimming behavior. The system is capable of producing email reports of
basic measures of activity, sleep and feeding as well as alerts when light cycles are disrupted.In this Phase II effort, we will improve our initial designs with commercialization in mind. The first aim builds
on our current design to improve deployability and enhance behavior detection capabilities by capturing 3D
data with a single camera. The second aim is (1) to enhance our system’s ability to build rich email reports and
a dashboard for users to explore replay events as well as historical data, and (2) to develop advanced
detection and diagnostic algorithms using machine learning techniques. Sharing of curated data and analysis
techniques to the community is also planned in this effort. The future vision is that the CanaryTank technology
sets new standards in fish husbandry, real-time classification of complex behavior changes, and provides
revolutionary, ubiquitous in-tank recording capabilities that can be leveraged beyond husbandry for collection of
actual scientific experimental data.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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