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  • Writer's pictureActual Analytics

10 years of CRACK IT Webinar- 12th May

In partnership with the NC3Rs, the Actual Analytics Home Cage Analyser (ActualHCA) system will be showcased as part of the CRACK IT 10 year anniversary celebrations.

The ActualHCA system was developed to address the 2011 Rodent Big Brother CRACK IT Challenge (sponsored by AstraZeneca) and adapted for mice as part of the 2012 Rodent Little Brother Challenge (sponsored by MRC Harwell). The HCA system is widely applicable: it has been used in safety pharmacology studies for assessing the central nervous system toxicity of drugs, in neurological disease research, and in mouse phenotyping programmes. During this webinar, which is free to attend, you will hear from our own Professor Douglas Armstrong, as well as Dr Sonia Bains, whose work has benefitted from the technology. There will be an opportunity to ask questions after the webinar presentation.

Register via Zoom >



  • Professor Douglas Armstrong, Professor of Systems Neurobiology at the University of Edinburgh and Co-founder of Actual Analytics, the company that commercialises the HCA system developed to address the Rodent Big and Little Brother Challenges. Douglas will describe the technology development and validation process, how CRACK IT supported this and how the system is being applied across multiple disciplines and sectors.

  • Dr Sonia Bains, Phenotyping Technical Developer at MRC Harwell, which posed the Rodent Little Brother Challenge. Sonia will describe the rationale behind the Challenge and how MRC Harwell have applied the HCA system within their mouse phenotyping programme. She will also describe the wider scientific and 3Rs benefits of the HCA compared to traditional approaches.

The HCA system provides unobtrusive, continuous monitoring of group-housed rodents, refining animal use by avoiding the need for single housing and allowing testing in the familiar home cage environment.

It can be incorporated into standard vivarium racks and measures the position, activity and temperature of individual animals who have been tagged with subcutaneous RFID chips. These are tracked using a baseplate containing a series of RFID antennae. Behavioural data is obtained using high-grade video recording and infrared LED lighting placed above the cage. The video analysis software has been trained to automatically detect specific behaviours.

Further information about the Home Cage Analyser system can be found on the NC3Rs Innovation Platform. Contact us about utilising home cage analysis in your research.


The Actual Analytics Home Cage Analyser (HCA) offers a universal solution providing automatic round the clock monitoring of socially grouped animals. 



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