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In this paper we present SpikeOnChip, a custom embedded platform for neuronal activity recording and online analysis. The SpikeOnChip platform was developed in the context of automated drug testing and toxicology assessments on neural tissue made from human induced pluripotent stem cells. The system was developed with the following goals: to be small, autonomous and low power, to handle micro-electrode arrays with up to 256 electrodes, to reduce the amount of data generated from the recording, to be able to do computation during acquisition, and to be customizable. This led to the choice of a Field Programmable Gate Array System-On-Chip platform. This paper focuses on the embedded system for acquisition and processing with key features being the ability to record electrophysiological signals from multiple electrodes, detect biological activity on all channels online for recording, and do frequency domain spectral energy analysis online on all channels during acquisition. Development methodologies are also presented. The platform is finally illustrated in a concrete experiment with bicuculline being administered to grown human neuronal tissue through microfluidics, resulting in measurable effects in the spike recordings and activity. The presented platform provides a valuable new experimental instrument that can be further extended thanks to the programmable hardware and software.

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