Creating Automated Interactive Video Playback for Studies of Animal Communications
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Video playback is a technique used to study the visual communication and behaviors of animals. While video playback is a useful tool, most experiments lack the ability for the visual stimulus to interact with the live animal. The limited number of experiments involving interactive video playback can be attributed partially to the lack of software available to conduct instructive interactive video playback experiments. To facilitate such interactive experiments, I have created a method that combines real-time animations with video tracking software. This method may be used to conduct interactive playback experiments. To demonstrate this method, a prototype was created and used to conduct automated mating choice trials on female swordtail fish. The results of the mating choice trials show that this prototype is able to create effectively interactive visual stimulus automatically. In addition, the results show that the interactive video playback has a measurable effect on the female swordtail fish, Xiphophorus birchmanni.