One of the key issues in the biological control of agricultural pests is to find the right natural enemy for a particular pest, for example, parasitic wasps attack pest insects like caterpillars, beetles, aphids, etc. ETHOVISION allows researchers to automate the observation process in the exploratory phase. It measures aspects of the insect's behaviour in the laboratory (e.g. walking and flight speed, turning rate, time distribution of different areas in space) that have a predictive value for its performance in the field.
A video tracking linked to a computerised image analysis system automatically records and classifies the spatial orientation and movement of an animal, taking away all-too-human frailties such as variation in classification caused by tiredness or different observers.
ETHOVISION systems have now been installed in more than 450 laboratories, including those of many leading pharmaceutical companies, universities and governmental research institutes. In 2001, the product generated sales of around 2.5 million Euro and a 30 per cent increase in turnover for the Dutch company selling it, Noldus Information Technology.
Dr Noldus, managing director of Noldus Information Technology, found his first experience with EUREKA and international cooperation a very rewarding one. "We have been able to take an idea, stemming from the market, through collaborative R&D to a working prototype, and eventually to a very successful commercial produ
Contact: Julie Sors