Controlling Locomotion and Behavior in Real-Time


The CoLBeRT system can aquire an image of the worm , identify target neurons and direct its digital micromirror device to shine light on those targets in less than 20ms closed-loop.


The worm sits in a chamber on the microscope (center). The optics are located in the black box on the optics bench (right) . Computer software (left) controls the entire apparatus.


Lenses and mirrors are required to shine laser light onto the digital micromirror device (on the right) before heading into the microscope (not pictured on left). Photo by Elizabeth Kane.

Computer Vision

The CoLBeRT system uses real-time computer vision algorithms to rapidly identify the worm. The system identifies the worm's head, tail and centerline and divides the worm into 100 segments that form a natural coordinate system, within which the location of its neuron are defined. The freely available software, called MindControl, is written in C and uses the open source OpenCV computer vision library. The worm is only 1mm long.

MindControl software segments the worm into 100 sectors.

In Action

Blue laser light is shining on a single pair of mechanosenory neurons in this worm.


The system has three lasers, blue, green and purple. The green is shown. Photo by Elizabeth Kane.