South Korea (called the “Republic of Korea” locally) is a great fit for Backyard Brains. The country is famous for investing heavily in technology and education, having modernized at a mind-boggling pace since the ceasefire of the Korean War (1950-1953). Over the past two years, we have been working closely with a Korean company, OSUNHITECH.
They have been in business for the last 25 years, and are about 3x the size of Backyard Brains (the size is important – there are only three layers of management at OSUNHITECH, so decisions can be made relatively quickly and negotiations tend to be efficient). They primarily produce microscopes (and are an official importer for Zeiss), are focused on the educational market, and have been looking to expand into neuroscience and molecular biology. Microscopy and neuroscience walk hand in hand, so we were open to discussing an alliance with them when first contact was made.
This summer’s been a busy and buzzy season for spreading the word on DIY neuroscience! As part of the outreach activities, our crew hit Paris to attend FENS (Forum of European Neuroscience), Europe’s largest international neuroscience conference. We set up shop there and demoed the latest upgrades of our bioamplifiers. And got sore muscles from cycling along the Champs-Élysées!
The schedule was jam-packed with sci-comm activities, with over 7,500 fellow neuroscientists, graduate and doctoral students as well as teachers partaking in scientific symposia, poster presentations, workshops, mini conferences. (Hanging out, caffeinating and exchanging ideas with other nerdy folks at the rooftop terrace was also a huge part of it, especially in the mornings and evenings.)
What do neuroscience and fencing have in common? This was a question asked—and answered!— by Supriya Nair, high-schooler and neurofencer from Washington State. After winning WA State Science Fair two years in a row using our gear, this young scientist took the opportunity to present her neurofencing research at US Fencing Nationals in Minneapolis—and volunteered to become our brand ambassador while at it!