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 growing community

Open Ephys hardware can be found in over 80 labs around the world, with many more to come. Our data acquisition system has already been used to collect data from mice, rats, songbirds, primates, and humans.

Belgium: NERF
Brazil: University of São Paulo, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (Natal)
Canada: McGill, University of Waterloo, University of Lethbridge, University of Montreal, University of Ottowa
China: Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Tsinghua 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
Hungary: Institute of Experimental Medicine
India: Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
Israel: Weizmann Institute
Italy: Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia
Japan: Doshisha University
Korea: Korean Institute for Basic Science
Netherlands: Donders Institute
Portugal: Champalimaud Institute, Universidade do Minho
South Africa: University of Cape Town
Spain: Alicante Neuroscience Institute, IDIBAPS (Barcelona), Fundacio IMIM
Sweden: Karolinska Institute, Uppsala University
Switzerland: University of Geneva
United Kingdom: UCL, Francis Crick Institute, University of Leicester, Oxford University, University of Bristol, University of Edinburgh
United States: MIT, Harvard, Boston University, Brandeis, UMass Amherst, Draper Labs, Duke, Brown University, NYU, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Rockefeller University, Columbia University, Princeton, University of Pittsburgh, Janelia Farm, Virginia Tech, Johns Hopkins, Medical University of South Carolina, Georgia Tech, Indiana University, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Michigan State University, University of Eastern Michigan, Mayo Clinic, UT Austin, Rice, UCSF, UCSD, UC Davis, Caltech, Stanford, University of Oregon, Allen Institute, University of Washington