Vol 9, Issue 4, November 2022

A Low-Cost Solution for Documenting, Tracking, and Verifying Cage-Level Animal Husbandry Tasks Using Wireless QR Scanners and Cloud-Based Spreadsheets


Hobson, E. A. (2022). A low-cost solution for documenting, tracking, and verifying cage-level animal husbandry tasks using wireless QR scanners and cloud-based spreadsheets. Animal Behavior and Cognition, 9(4), 416-427. https://doi.org/10.26451/abc.


Animal care is a critical component underlying successful behavioral and cognition research. Technological solutions for documentation and verification of care can aid in monitoring that activities are completed according to standard operating procedures and ensure that no individuals are overlooked. Here, I summarize a low-cost, flexible, and easy to use system that I developed to document and monitor care of animals for our research group. The system enables real-time and remote-enabled verification that critical daily tasks have been completed for every cage and helps us monitor our longer-term tasks to make sure that our care team is adhering to our set schedule. The main materials and components needed to implement this system are QR codes, a thermal laminator, a QR scanner, a computer to manage data input, and a database into which the data are scanned and summarized. There are six steps to setting up our system: (1) purchase a QR scanner, (2) generate and print QR codes, (3) set up the central hub for data input, (4) input data from QR scans, (5) filter and collate the raw data, and (6) summarize filtered data to verify and track care. Paired with simple scripts in a cloud-based spreadsheet, scanned QR code data can then be easily summarized in real time to provide verification of care. The flexibility of the system allows it to be customized to a large range of species.


Animal care, paperless documentation, verification, QR code