In a video, a rodent reaches out and grabs a morsel of food, while small, colored dots highlight the positions of its knuckles. In another clip, a racehorse gallops along a track; again, small, colored dots track the position of its body parts. In a third video, two human dancers circle around each other as those same dots unfailingly follow the sometimes fluid, sometimes jerky movements of their limbs.
These videos are showcases for DeepLabCut, a tool that can automatically track and label the body parts of moving animals. Developed this year by Mackenzie Mathis and Alexander Mathis, a pair of married neuroscientists, DeepLabCut is remarkable in its simplicity. It has allowed researchers to download any video from the internet and digitally label specific body parts in a few dozen frames. The tool then learns how to pick out those same features in the rest of the video, or others like it. And it works across species, from laboratory stalwarts like flies and mice to … more unusual animals.
Make a robot friend with Adafruit’s CRICKIT – A Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit. It’s an add-on to our popular Circuit Playground Express, FEATHER and other platforms to make and program robots with CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. Start controlling motors, servos, solenoids. You also get signal pins, capacitive touch sensors, a NeoPixel driver and amplified speaker output. It complements & extends your boards so you can still use all the goodies on the microcontroller, now you have a robotics playground as well.