open-source electrophysiology

October 2016 Newsletter

Added on by Josh Siegle.

Announcing Open Ephys Production Site

We’re excited to announce our partnership with Open Ephys Production Site (OEPS), an independent company that will manufacture and distribute the tools featured on the Open Ephys website. In the past, we’ve produced hardware on an ad hoc basis, and it’s been difficult to keep products in stock. Having a dedicated company in charge of hardware distribution should reduce lead times dramatically. For the next two years, OEPS will be handling orders from our online store, and a portion of the profits will be donated to Open Ephys. By purchasing hardware from OEPS, you will help sustain our work in developing and supporting open-source tools for the neuroscience community.

At the beginning of November, OEPS will begin making Acquisition Boards and shipping them worldwide. Soon thereafter, they will begin manufacturing electrode interface boards for the flexDrive, as well as Cyclops LED drivers.

To place a reservation for one or more Acquisition Boards from OEPS, please send an email to indicating the quantity you'd like to order. The boards will cost 2250€ ($2500) each, and will include USB 3.0 data transmission by default. Orders can be placed through our existing store, or via purchase order. If you're at all interested, please get in touch. The number of reservations will be used to determine the quantity of boards in the first manufacturing run, to ensure that they don't run out.

The creation of OEPS is being led by Filipe Carvalho, who has spearheaded several previous acquisition board manufacturing runs, and who has extensive experience assembling and using our tools. We're thrilled to have his help in making it easier for neuroscientists to access open-source hardware!

Google Summer of Code

Our participation in the 2016 Google Summer of Code wrapped up in August. We had two students complete projects:

Kirill Abramov (Zaporizhzhya State Engineering Academy, Ukraine) built a Plugin Generator to simplify the process of creating new data processing plugins for the Open Ephys GUI. Instead of copying and pasting example code, there's now an intuitive graphical application for selecting the type of plugin you want to create (Source, Filter, Sink, File Reader, or Record Engine). You can also use the Plugin Generator to add parameters and lay out your plugin's interface. This will lower the barrier to entry for users wishing to add new features to the GUI, allowing them to focus on the functionality, rather than getting their code to run in the first place.

Ananya Bahadur (Amrita University, India) integrated the Cyclops LED driver into the Open Ephys GUI. On the hardware side, he upgraded the microcontroller on the Cyclops from an 8-bit Atmel AVR (Arduino Leonardo) to a more powerful 32-bit Freescale Cortex-M4 (Teensy 3.2). On the software side, he built a CyclopsStimulator plugin for the GUI that provides a simple way to use neural events (such as spikes or LFP features) to trigger LED-based optogenetic stimulation. These additions will improve the stimulation capabilities of the Open Ephys platform. We hope they will facilitate the next generation of experiments involving closed-loop optogenetics.

Ordering Cyclops LED Driver Kits

The most recent updates to Cyclops have been now incorporated into the hardware design, and the final prototypes are currently being tested by Jon Newman. We're planning to manufacture and distribute another round of Cyclops kits for $250 each. Before we place the order for all the components, we'd like to to gauge the level of community interest. If your lab would like to purchase one or more Cyclops kits, please add your name, email, and quantity requested to this Google spreadsheet. This does not constitute the actual order. We will have a separate ordering process once the kits are available.

Until next time,

The Open Ephys Team