open-source electrophysiology

We are a team of neuroscientists who want to change the way our tools are developed and shared

Why do we need Open Ephys?

In the field of systems neuroscience, there is a huge amount of technical development happening inside each and every lab. Whether they're designing equipment for measuring behavior, constructing implants for extracting signals from the brain, or writing code for analyzing their data, neuroscientists are constantly building new tools for their research. We want to embrace these efforts and foster collaborations that produce tools that are transparent enough, flexible enough, and affordable enough to help everyone do great science.

We see four main advantages to using open-source tools: flexibility to modify features to fit the needs of your research, ability to run experiments at a lower cost, the scientific and educational benefits of the tools' transparency, and the reduced redundancy that results from shared development efforts.

What does Open Ephys do?

We showcase and distribute tools for electrophysiology research that are open-source, thoroughly documented, and field-tested. We've had tremendous success using open-source tools for our own research, and we want to share the benefits with everyone. We also want to dispel the myth that tools built by researchers cannot be plug-and-play. We hate wasting time debugging as much as anyone, so we only promote tools that are easy to use and easy to maintain.

Whenever possible, we'd like to sell finished versions of the tools we've developed. As a first step, we've started selling some of our tools and the components needed to build the tools through our store. As Open Ephys continues to grow, you can expect to see more products available from us. If you're interested in helping out with manufacturing and distribution, please get in touch through our contact page.

How can I learn more?

To find out about the latest developments related to Open Ephys, including when new tools become available for purchase, sign up for our newsletter.

Before you get started using our tools, we recommend reading through our wiki.

We're mainly using the GitHub issues page to coordinate development and support efforts. We recommend that all users create their own GitHub account. If you sign up to "Watch" our repositories, you'll be notified whenever someone adds or responds to an issue. Also sign up for and participate on our mailing list.

You can also read about Open Ephys in the news:

Whom can Open Ephys help?

Our target audience is scientists using electrophysiology and/or optogenetic stimulation. We're not currently tailoring our tools for educational, commercial, or clinical use. That said, all of our designs are open, so anyone is free to modify them for other purposes. Just make sure that anything you build based on our designs is also open-source.

Within the neuroscience community, we are focused on helping scientists who were trained in the methods of electrophysiology, but have found commercially available tools too limiting.  We envision a future in which design and support efforts are distributed throughout the community, with Open Ephys acting as a "hub" for researchers to discover new tools and coordinate their development work.

We also see a huge opportunity for Open Ephys to help labs that lack the financial resources to afford commercial platforms for multichannel electrophysiology. 

Related open-source projects in neuroscience

The most similar projects are ArtE (a NIDAQ-based acquisition system written in Haskell) and NeuroRighter (a NIDAQ-based acquisition system written in C#). If you're looking to collect data using a more traditional analog signal chain, these projects may be on interest.

If you're looking to teach electrophysiology—or do it at home—check out Backyard Brains.

If you're looking to use human EEG signals to control hardware and software, check out OpenBCI.

Janelia Farm has developed open-source software for laser-scanning microscopy and whisker tracking.

If you're using microscopy, have a look at Micro-Manager for acquiring images and ImageJ for image processing and analysis.

Labrigger covers all aspects of open-source hardware and software for neuroscience.




A worldwide community

Open Ephys hardware can be found in over 140 institutions in 30  counties. If you're curious about our tools, there may be a place to learn about them right down the hall!


Australia: Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Monash University

Belgium: NERF, IMEC, KU Leuven, Université Libre de Bruxelles

Brazil: University of São Paulo, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (Natal), Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico

Canada: McGill University, University of Waterloo, University of Lethbridge, University of Montreal, University of Ottawa, CHU Sainte-Justine, Dalhousie University, University of Toronto, Western University

Chile: Universidad de Chile

China: Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Tsinghua University, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Sanjiang University

Denmark: Aarhus University

Finland: University of Eastern Finland

France: CRICM, University Paris 6, INSERM, CNRS

Germany: Tübingen, Oldenburg, Freiburg, Köln, MPI for Brain Research, MPI for Biological Cybernetics, DZNE, LMU Munich, TU München, Bremen, Göttingen

Hong Kong: City University of Hong Kong

Hungary: Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Experimental Medicine

India: National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

Israel: Tel Aviv University, Weizmann Institute

Italy: Instituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Neurofarba

Japan: Doshisha University, University of Fukui, Nagoya University, Physio-tech Ltd., RIKEN Brain Science Institute, University of Toyama

Kazakhstan: Nazarbayev University

Korea: Korean Institute for Basic Science

Mexico: UNAM, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana

Netherlands: Donders Institute, Erasmus MC, Radboud Universiteit, University of Amsterdam

Norway: University of Oslo

Poland: Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology

Portugal: Champalimaud Institute, Universidade do Minho

Russia: Lomonosow State University

Slovakia: AXON Neuroscience SE

South Africa: University of Cape Town

Spain: Alicante Neuroscience Institute, Cajal Institute, Fundacio IMIM, IDIBAPS (Barcelona), UPV/EHU

Sweden: Karolinska Institute, Uppsala University

Switzerland: University of Geneva

United Kingdom: Francis Crick Institute, Imperial College London, Newcastle University, Oxford University, University College London, University of Bristol, University of Edinburgh, University of Exeter, University of Leicester

United States: Allen Institute, Baylor College of Medicine, Boston University, Brandeis, Brown University, Caltech, Case Western, Columbia University, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Georgia Tech, Harvard University, Indiana University, Janelia Research Campus, Johns Hopkins University, MIT, Mayo Clinic, Medical University of South Carolina, Michigan State University, NYU, Princeton University, Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Rice University, Rockefeller University, Salk Institute, Stanford University, Stevens Institute of Technology, Stony Brook University, UC Davis, UCSD, UMass Amherst, University of Buffalo, UCSF, University of Eastern Michigan, University of Idaho, University of Missouri, University of Oregon, University of Pittsburgh, USC, UT Austin, Virginia Tech, University of Washington, Washington University

Uruguay: Universidad de la República