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Neuroscience for Everyone!

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“Circuits to Circuits” Teacher Workshop on March 23rd. Build your own!

We have run workshops for students, but now it’s time for the teachers!In collaboration with the great folks at the SquareOne Education Network, we are hosting a teacher workshop on March 23rd, 2011 whereby, if you are a teacher within driving distance of the greater Detroit area, you can spend a day building your own SpikerBox amplifier and running experiments to take back to your classroom. You will also gain a wealth (the greatest wealth) of knowledge on how to do easy neuroscience with your students. This is our first teacher workshop, help us help you! Sign up is $25 and includes all the gear, materials, and lunch. To apply, fill out the very brief application here and send to Barb Land at SquareOne! Space is limited (20 max). Welcome to the NeuroRevolution!

Date: Wednesday, March 23 at the Macomb Intermediate School District

Schedule:

9:00 -9:15: Introductions

9:15 – 10:00: Brief lecture on neuroscience and electronics

10:00 – 10:15: Break

10:15 – 12:30: Spiker Box Building Session

12:30 – 1:00 Lunch

1:00 – 2:00: Experiments

2:00 – 2:30: Discussion, feedback and pooling of results

2:30 – 2:45: Break

2:45 – 4:00: Lesson plan and new experiment design.

Note: For this workshop, we do not have SBCEU’s available, but we plan to for all future workshops.

Yes, this will make complete sense to you by the end of the day! Oh transistor, is there anything you cannot do?


Working RoboRoach Prototype Unveiled to Students of Grand Valley State University

We’ve been busy in the trenches of our R&D department designing a working prototype of the “RoboRoach,” a remote control system to enable left and right turning in running cockroaches. This began as a University of Michigan Senior Engineering Project we sponsored in Winter 2010, and over the past year we’ve incrementally been working to improve it, especially after getting great feedback from our colleagues at the latest Society for Neuroscience conference (thanks Cindy). By taking the small, lightweight control circuitry out of the toy “HEXBug Inchworm” and modifying it with low-power 555 timer chips to create biphasic pulses, we can deliver 55 Hz stimulation to the antennae nerves of large discoid and fuscia cockroaches.

We gave a seminar recently on Feb. 25th to the undergraduate students at Grand Valley State University (thanks for the invite John and Merritt!), and we publicly unveiled a working prototype! Samara Woolfolk andStewart Berkos were the first eager students to try it out, and they agreed it worked. We believe in crowd-based peer review of real-time experiments. Being in pure speaking mode, we didn’t take any pictures or videos of the event, but here is Samara and Stewart posing after lunch…

And below is a movie of a basement experiment… Are you convinced?

We plan to offer the RoboRoach as a beta product soon. Stay tuned! In the meantime, we need to do a couple more experiments to ensure:

1) the wires stay in the antenna (principal failure point).

2) the preparation works reliably (at present we only get evoked movement in ~25% of our preps (n=30)…we are working hard to figure out the causes).

Let us know if you have any suggestions/advice! To the NeuroRevolution!