Opbox: Open source tools for simultaneous eeg and emg acquisition from multiple subjects

Eyal Y. Kimchi*, Brian F. Coughlin, Benjamin E. Shanahan, Giovanni Piantoni, John Pezaris, Sydney S. Cash

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In vivo electrophysiology experiments require the collection of data from multiple subjects, often for extended periods. Studying multiple subjects for extended periods can be made more efficient through simultaneous re-cordings, but scaling up recordings to accommodate larger numbers of subjects simultaneously requires coordination and consideration of costs and flexibility. To facilitate this process, we have developed OpBox, an open source set of tools to acquire electroencephalography (EEG) and electromyography (EMG) flexibly from multiple rodent subjects simultaneously. OpBox combines open source hardware and software with off-the-shelf components to create a system that costs less than commercial solutions ($500 per subject), and can be easily deployed for multiple subjects. Coded in MATLAB, OpBox scripts can simultaneously and flexibly col-lect and display multiple analog and digital data streams, for instance real-time EEG and EMG, event triggers from a behavioral system, and rotary encoder data. OpBox also calculates and displays real-time spectral rep-resentations and event-related potentials (ERPs). To verify the performance of our system, we compare our amplifiers with two other commercial amplifiers, a Grass P55 AC preamplifier and an Intan RHD2000-series amplifier. The OpBox amplifier performs comparably to commercial amplifiers for signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs), noise floors, and common mode rejection. We also demonstrate that our acquisition system can reliably re-cord multichannel data from multiple subjects, and has been successfully tested with 12 subjects running simultaneously on a single standard desktop computer. Together, OpBox increases the flexibility and lowers the cost for simultaneous acquisition of electrophysiology data from multiple subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberENEURO.0212-20.2020
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2020


  • Amplifier
  • EEG
  • EMG
  • Electrophysiology
  • Open source
  • Rodent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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