Real-time automated tracking and trapping system for sperm.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Microscopy research and technique, Volume 69, Issue 11, p.894-902 (2006)


Animals, Dogs, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Male, Microscopy, Phase-Contrast, Sperm Motility, Spermatozoa


We have developed a microscope system for real-time single sperm tracking with an automated laser tweezers escape power assay. Phase contrast images of swimming sperm are digitized to the computer at video rate. The custom algorithm creates a region of interest centered about a sperm in response to a mouse click and performs all subsequent tasks autonomously. Microscope stage movement responds to feedback from video analysis of swimming sperm to center the sperm with respect to the field of view. For escape power assays, sperm are automatically relocated to the laser trap focus where they are held for a user-defined duration at fixed power, or held as laser power is gradually reduced. The sperm's position is automatically monitored to measure the laser power at which the sperm escapes the trap. Sperm are tracked for extended durations before and after laser trap experiments. Motility measurements including the curvilinear velocity and the absolute position of the sperm relative to the cell chamber are calculated and written to the hard drive at video rate. Experimental throughput is increased over 30 times compared to off-line data analysis. The efficacy of the "track and trap" algorithm is validated through examples and comparisons with the manually collected data.

PDF File