Objective: Spiking activity of individual neurons can be separated from the acquired multi-unit activity with spike sorting methods. Processing the recorded high-dimensional neural data can take a large amount of time when performed on general-purpose computers. Methods: In this paper, an FPGA-based real-time spike sorting system is presented which takes into account the spatial correlation between the electrical signals recorded with closely-packed recording sites to cluster multi-channel neural data. The system uses a spatial window-based version of the Online Sorting algorithm, which uses unsupervised template-matching for clustering. Results: The test results show that the proposed system can reach an average accuracy of 86% using simulated data (16-32 neurons, 4-10 dB Signal-to-Noise Ratio), while the single-channel clustering version achieves only 74% average accuracy in the same cases on a 128-channel electrode array. The developed system was also tested on in vivo cortical recordings obtained from an anesthetized rat. Conclusion: The proposed FPGA-based spike sorting system can process more than 11000 spikes/second, so it can be used during in vivo experiments providing real-time feedback on the location and electrophysiological properties of well-separable single units. Significance: The proposed spike sorting system could be used to reduce the positioning error of the closely-packed recording site during a neural measurement.
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Spatial Information Based OSort for Real-Time Spike Sorting Using FPGA