Free and complete software providing experience with neurophysiological phenomena and mechanisms of motor pattern generation in virtual neural circuits.  Student manuals also provided.

swimmy_picAbout Swimmy

Swimmy is an instructional tool for teaching neurophysiology that requires only a computer.  Swimmy is a virtual fish that swims, moving its virtual tail by means of a virtual neural circuit.   Swimmy offers students the opportunity to approach a conceptually challenging task of scientific discovery and to get practical experience with the basics of neurophysiology–without the impediments of in vivo or in vitro neurophysiology experiments.  Swimmy is available for free, along with student and instructor tutorials.

Read the published article (from the Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, Fall 2008, 7(1):A1-A8) about the Swimmy module as a teaching tool:

Download Swimmy Files

Students and Faculty can download the Swimmy Program and Swimmy Tutorials for free.

(1)  Download the Swimmy Program

There are four versions of the Swimmy program available for the following operating systems:

    • Windows
    • Mac OS 10.5.8 through Mac OS 10.11.X (El Capitan)
    • Mac OS 10.14.X (Mojave)
    • Mac OS 10.15.X and up (including Big Sur Mac OS 11.X)

Be sure to click the link suited for your system.  Each respective link will take you to a Box page containing all the files needed for the program.  Do NOT download the files individually; instead click the DOWNLOAD button on the Box page to download the entire folder as a ZIP file.  You do NOT need to log in for the download to begin.  Be sure to UNZIP the file (Windows = right+click Extract; Mac = double-click).

Download the Swimmy program now:

    • Swimmy Program            UPDATED on 2021-04-06 at 11:45am PDT
The Swimmy program was created by Franklin B. Krasne.  The Mac versions were developed by Dylan Hirsch-Shell, Ryan Grgurich, Andrew Howe, and Paolo Gaudiel.
(2)  Download the Swimmy Tutorials

For Faculty

Faculty members interested in accessing faculty-related materials will need to obtain approved access. While we are still developing this website, please email natalie@psych.ucla.edu or wgrisham@g.ucla.edu using the email listed in your institution’s faculty directory so that we can verify you as an instructor.  Please include your first and last name, and the names of the modules you wish to access.


(1)  Watch a video that provides an overview about the Swimmy teaching tool.


Need Help?

    • Swimmy FAQ
    • Email natalie@psych.ucla.edu or wgrisham@g.ucla.edu (with “Swimmy Question” in the subject line).

License Information

Modular Digital Course in Undergraduate Neuroscience Education—Revised: Swimmy by Franklin B. Krasne is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Based on a work at www.neuron.yale.edu.