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ByB Partners with Business School

ByB applied last week to the second stage of the Zell Institute Dare to Dream grant. This grant, should we get it, will give us some funds for our initial runs of SpikerBoxes (stay tuned…we are close to final production). The grant, run every school semester by the UM Ross Business School, has three stages, from initial idea (design), to business hypothesis (assessment), to full blown business plan (integration). Once you get past the design stage, you have to partner with a business school student(s).

But, Tim and Greg are gearheads! We wouldn’t know what to do with a value chain diagram if one landed on our coxa! We don’t much hang around that part of campus. But have no fear. ByB, harking back to its renegade origins, went to the lobby of the business school to do some cold recruiting. Connie Chung and her team, through the persuasive cold pitching of Greg, joined ByB as partners for the grant. You can see us working at the local Expresso Royale on South U below. Wish us luck; we hear next week. Thanks Connie!

Business Partner

Concentrate Media interviews Backyard Brains

Concentrate Media, an Ann Arbor business magazine, recently interviewed Greg about ByB. You can read the article here.

Note: The opinions of Greg Gage do not represent the opinions of ByB. We acknowledge that insect brains and human brains are different.

Brief Primer for the newbies

-Insects don’t have mylein sheaths on their axons.

-Insects don’t really have a brain; rather, they have three fused ganglia pairs in their head

-Insects use Acetylcholine as the excitatory neurotransmitter of choice, rather than glutamate like humans.

But, like all creatures great and small, we can learn about how our brain works by studying the neurons of 340 million year old insects.


ByB Acquires New Microscope

We have good versions of our Ganglionizer (micromanipulator) and SpikerBox (amplifier), but the missing component for in vivo ganglia experiments is an inexpensive microscope. ByB saved its lunch money and recently purchased a 30X dissection scope for $60 from Benz Microscopy. Having no background in optics, ByB is rolling up its sleeves and reverse engineering a dissection scope. First step, take one apart and see how it works.


Michael Benz, the third generation owner of Benz Microscope (a very cool business in south Ann Arbor), is enthusiastically helping us design our own microscopes by letting us purchase some raw optics components from his massive workshop. Thanks Michael!