i3B is not just limited to human applications. Besides people, animals are also an object of research and application due to the large economic and social importance of livestock farming and biomedical research. An important ‘driver’ is the emergence of precision livestock farming, in which each individual animal is followed. The prevention of diseases and the improvement of animal welfare require real-time measurement of physiology and behavior. In the research into the genetic basis of neurological and psychiatric disorders and the quest for new drugs there is a growing demand for better (validated) animal models. At the same time society wants a reduction, replacement and refinement of animal experiments (the 3Rs). Advanced test set-ups and ICT measurement systems can make a significant contribution in this respect.
Many measurement instruments are being developed for both preclinical animal studies and clinical human studies: motion capture systems, video tracking systems, sensors and data acquisition software for ECG, EEG, EMG, etc. There are a lot of similarities in the necessary sensor technology, measurement methods, signal processing and data analysis. Nevertheless, developers of instruments for human and animal applications often move in separate ‘worlds’ with little interaction and transfer of knowledge and experiences. This is often because the company develops tools for animal research or human testing but not for both. We are convinced that a translational approach in which developers of human and animal research tools closely collaborate will benefit all parties involved. This vision is shared by an increasing number of scientists and technicians (see the proceedings of Measuring Behavior congress where this is a recurring theme), although no initiative has made it so tangible in practice as this proposal.