Real-Time Analysis of Animal Feeding Behavior with a Low-Calculation-Power CPU

Yuki Totani, Susumu Kotani, Kei Odai, Etsuro Ito, Manabu Sakakibara*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Our goal was to develop an automated system to determine whether animals have learned and changed their behavior in real-time using a low calculation-power central processing unit (CPU). The bottleneck of real-time analysis is the speed of image recognition. For fast image recognition, 99.5% of the image was excluded from image recognition by distinguishing between the subject and the background. We achieved this by applying a binarization and connected-component labeling technique. This task is important for developing a fully automated learning apparatus. The use of such an automated system can improve the efficiency and accuracy of biological studies. The pond snail Lymnaea stagnails can be classically conditioned to avoid food that naturally elicits feeding behavior, and to consolidate this aversion into long-term memory. Determining memory status in the snail requires real-time analysis of the number of bites the snail makes in response to food presentation. The main algorithm for counting bites comprises two parts: extracting the mouth images from the recorded video and measuring the bite rate corresponding to the memory status. Reinforcement-supervised learning and image recognition were used to extract the mouth images. A change in the size of the mouth area was used as the cue for counting the number of bites. The accuracy of the final judgment of whether or not the snail had learned was the same as that determined by human observation. This method to improve the processing speed of image recognition has the potential for broad application beyond biological fields.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8788626
Pages (from-to)1197-1205
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Apr


  • Lymnaea stagnalis
  • Real-time analysis
  • animal behavior
  • conditioned taste aversion
  • low-calculation-power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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