Christian Zimmermann1 Artur Schneider2 Mansour Alyahyay2 Thomas Brox1 Ilka Diester2

1Computer Vision, University of Freiburg 2Optophysiology, University of Freiburg


The increasing awareness of the impact of spontaneous movements on neuronal activity has raised the need to track behavior. We present FreiPose, a versa- tile learning-based framework to directly capture 3D motion of freely definable points with high precision (median error < 3.5% body length, 41.9% improvement compared to state-of-the-art) and high reliability (82.8% keypoints within < 5% body length error boundary, 72.0% improvement). The versatility of FreiPose is demonstrated in two experiments: (1) By tracking freely moving rats with simultaneous electrophysiological recordings in motor cortex, we identified neuronal tuning to individual paw trajectories. (2) We inferred time points of optogenetic stimulation in rat motor cortex from the measured pose across individuals and attributed the stimulation effect automatically to body parts. The versatility and accuracy of FreiPose open up new possibilities for quantifying behavior of freely moving animals and may lead to new ways of setting up experiments.