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version 1.0.0 (181 KB) by Kulbhushan Chand
A plug and play MATLAB based tool for biofeedback and arduino based instruments.


Updated 20 Apr 2021

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Arduino Firmata Data Acquisition (AfDaq)

A plug and play MATLAB based tool for biofeedback and Arduino based instruments
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Table of Contents

About the project


AfDaq (Arduino Firmata Data Acquisition) is an open-source plug-and-play MATLAB-based tool for biofeedback and Arduino-based instruments, which offers the capabilities of multi-channel real-time data acquisition, visualization, manipulation, and local saving of data for offline analysis.
The researchers (especially from biofeedback or physiological measurement domain) or hobbyist, who are using MATLAB and want to acquire data from Arduino or to control Arduino-based instruments can use this tool.

Built with

This GUI tool is built using the Guide tool in MATLAB-v2017b. For the hardware, any Arduino compatible board can be used which is supported by MATLAB.


  • Plug and play system (no need to separately upload any code on Arduino board).
  • Real-time multi-channel data acquisition from supported digital or analog channels.
  • Sampling rate of -
    • 10 Hz when using all 5 channels simultaneously
    • 40 Hz when using single-channel acquisition.
  • Real-time data visualization (in scroll plot) and data manipulation (with custom functions).
  • Local saving of data in .xlsx format for offline analysis.
  • Screenshot of current GUI for reference purpose.

Why another acquisition program?

Researchers in the biofeedback domain or working on Arduino-based instruments often require a quick-to-deploy system to acquire real-time data from Arduino and for further analysis transfer the data in MATLAB. For this, MATLAB has provided MATLAB Support Package for Arduino Hardware which eases the data acquisition need from Arduino compatible hardware by automatically updating firmata code on Arduino board and providing functions for data acquisition. However, at present, its use in physiological research is limited due to severe timing jitter associated with data acquisition.

This software tool aims to reduce the timing jitter and provides precise time stamps during data acquisition.

Getting started

Working with AfDaq is a straightforward process. Make sure you have prerequisites available and follow the steps below.


MATLAB-ver2017b was used to develop the AfDaq. It was also tested with ver2015b and ver2018b for backward and forward compatibility respectively. It may not work with ver20xx and before due to the unavailability of compatible MATLAB Support Package for Arduino Hardware.

For the list of the supported boards, visit documentation here.

Installation and running

  1. Download the latest stable release and extract contents into your MATLAB working directory. Alternatively, you can also download the latest code from the repository.
  2. Open AfDaq.m in MATLAB.
  3. Connect Arduino board to PC with USB cable. If the board is pre-configured with Firmata code by MATLAB, a message is shown in the command window.
  4. Run AfDaq.m and wait for the GUI to appear.
  5. In the GUI select the COM port for the Arduino and press the Connect button. If the Arduino is not pre-configured with Firmata code by MATLAB, it may take few minutes (It's a one-time process in the beginning OR if the board is re-flashed outside).
  6. After a successful connection, appropriate settings can be selected and acquisition is manually started.
  7. The acquisition runs till a set time or can be stopped manually.
  8. After successful completion, the information panel shows various statistics related to the acquisition.
  9. Data can be saved for offline processing.


Use this space to show useful examples of how a project can be used. Additional screenshots, code examples, and demos work well in this space. You may also link to more resources.
For more examples, please refer to the Documentation.


To be added.


The documentation is available at


See the open issues for a list of proposed features (and known issues).


Any contributions you make are greatly appreciated. You can contribute to this project in the following ways :

  • Add new functionality
  • Review code
  • Raise issues about bugs/features/doubts
  • Proof-read the documentation
  • Cite if used in a publication
  • Star on GitHub
  • Share with others

Please note that this project is released with a Contributor Code of Conduct. By contributing to this project you agree to abide by its terms.


This project is distributed under the GPLv3 License. See LICENSE for more information.


This software code is a part of the open-source project AfDaq: An Open-source MATLAB-based Real-time Multi-channel Data Acquisition Tool for Biofeedback and Arduino-based Instruments. The paper explaining the design and development, and usage of this work in multimodal biofeedback is published in Journal of Information Technology Research (JITR). You can cite this work (by citing the paper published for this work) as -

In press


I would like to thank my PhD supervisor Prof. Arun Khosla at Dr B R Ambedkar National Institute of Technology for his guidance and kind support. I also want to acknowledge the open-source tools used in some parts of this project.

  • RStudio is used for statistical analysis and visualizations.
  • drawio-desktop is used to create logo and diagrams.


Kulbhushan Chand

Cite As

Kulbhushan Chand (2021). AfDaq (, GitHub. Retrieved .

Chand, Kulbhushan. AfDaq: An Open-Source MATLAB Based Real-Time Multi-Channel Data Acquisition Tool for Biofeedback and Arduino Based Instruments. Open Science Framework, 2021, doi:10.17605/OSF.IO/VCTJM.

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MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R2017b
Compatible with R2015b and later releases
Platform Compatibility
Windows macOS Linux

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To view or report issues in this GitHub add-on, visit the GitHub Repository.
To view or report issues in this GitHub add-on, visit the GitHub Repository.