From the hardware point of view, an ethoscope is rapsberry pi powered machine that tracks flies using a raspberry pi camera. In principle, all you need is a way to keep the camera at the focal distance from the flies and given that tracking needs to happen during night too so you will also need a way to keep infrared illumination. We normally print ethoscopes using a filament extruder 3D printer. We have three Ultimaker 2+ in the lab and we are happy with those. If you are not on a tight budget you may want to consider an Ultimaker 3 (amazon ~£7k) or you may want to go with an inexpensive model like the Creality 3D (amazon £250). I have no experience with cheaper models but my understanding is that the technology has improved a lot and I am pretty confident everything you will want to print can ben printed on a Creality printer.
A typical 3D printed ethoscope in all its beauty
The node platform provides the most up-to-date list of files to be printed and I recommend you start from there. Click the "Resources" page and you will see a list like the one below:
In this manual, I will provide instructions on how to build an ethoscope using the files versioned 1.7 and while I am confidents update will roll out quickly enough, I do not expect them to change drammaticaly.
You will not need any glue or screws to assemble the ethoscope because most parts will snap together. You will, however, need to make some soldiering on the wires. Some sticky tack is also useful to secure components and to darkened LEDs.
Insert the camera into the camera slot, fitting the four pins inside the four appropriate holes. Make sure the camera is well positioned then secure it down by pushing the camera cover lid. The lid will click into place making sure the camera will not move during experiments
Place the rasbperry PI on top of the camera, positioned on its four pillars and secure the other end of the ribbon cable into the PI. It's easier to insert the PI into the case without the SD card in. You can then insert the SD card once the PI is fastened inside. Use some sticky tack on the PI pillars to secure the base in place, then close the lid of the case.
<aside> 💡 The four external round holes around the camera found on the case are made to accommodate LEGO Technics pins. Their distance is also LEGO Technics compatible. This allows you to create LEGO plugins to insert in the base of the ethoscope PI case, for instance, to install special lights or filters.