By Robyn Grant, Manchester Metropolitan University, and Software Sustainability Fellow.
Measuring Behavior 2018 will take place in Manchester, 5th to 8th June 2018. Call for symposia and workshops is now open!
I am a lecturer in Comparative Physiology & Animal Behaviour at Manchester Metropolitan University. I am really interested in measuring precise aspects of animal behaviour using image techniques. Specifically, I use high-speed video cameras to measure whisker movements in small mammals (and large underwater mammals), and then use image processing techniques to detect and track these fine, fast-moving sensors. I am really keen to develop free, open-source behavioural hardware and software systems to encourage quantitative behavioural measurement in the bio-sciences.
Indeed, I became a Software Sustainability Institute Fellow in 2014-15 to really get to grips with making our software adaptable and free for future users, which can hopefully be seen in our subsequent papers (Hewitt et al. 2017: A novel automated rodent tracker (ART), demonstrated in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Hewitt et al. 2016: Manual Whisker Annotator (MWA): A Modular Open-Source Tool).
I presented my work at the Measuring Behavior Conference in Dublin in 2016, and was really impressed by the range of techniques and methods presented there for measuring animal and human behaviour. The conference has the formal oral and poster presentation slots, but also has demonstration showcases of relevant software and hardware examples too. There are also lunchtime discussion sessions. So I was impressed with the format of this conference, that when a call for hosting came out for 2018, myself and my colleague Matthew Sullivan put in a bid from Manchester Metropolitan University. Luckily, we won the bid and are really excited to be hosting Measuring Behavior 2018 in Manchester 5th–8th June 2018!
We hope to have a super exciting and varied conference next year. As well as the usual focus on animal and human behaviour research methods, we will also be introducing some new themes, including robotics (bio-inspired robots and human-robot interactions), sport (biomechanics and human movement) and open science. We would also really love for Research Software Engineers to be involved. It is a methods conference, concerned with new technologies/software for measuring animal or human behaviour; so suggested topics might include (but are in no way limited to): social network analyses, big data, movement tracking software. We would also like to have discussion sessions, such as about open software and data, and will also have live demonstrations too if anyone would like to bring a robot or some software along.
We would love to hear from you if you have any ideas for symposia, workshops or discussions. If you’re interested in submitting a proposal, please send us an outline of one page to MB2018@measuringbehavior.org, including a title, a one paragraph summary, and four to five suggested speakers, by September 15th 2017. Further details can be found at the call for symposia and workshops. Submissions for demonstrations, presentations and posters will also be open shortly too.
I can’t wait to see what we get!