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Backyard Brains Amazes Neuroscientists at SFN 2019!

SFN 2019 is over. It came and went so quick! But now our, and your, work really gets grooving.

From poster sessions, to chats, to socials, and time well spent at our exhibit(!), we hope everyone who attended enjoyed their time in Chicago! We know we did! And if you didn’t make it out (probably many of you(!)) we have a wonderful retrospect below.

One of the best take-aways from SFN every year is the attendee’s reactions to our science and tools! Everyone should take a quick scroll through our “Citizen-Journalism Scrapbook” – Scientists make great social media advocates, and their enthusiasm for hands-on neuroscience is contagious!

A Scientist’s Social Media Game is FIRE

We captured much of our own adventure on Instagram! And if you haven’t subscribed, definitely give our Insta a follow.

Check out the Insta story here to see a scrapbook of our adventure in Chicago!

Then, not to be outdone, check out the fine citizen-journalism performed by a handful of the 27,000 attendees to SFN 2019.

Some of the highlights? Our Human-Human Interface was a crowd pleaser as always, and we featured a few new demonstrations, including a dramatic new “Brain-Computer Interface” which put one of our Brains in direct control of World of Warcraft!

Attendees walked away with new knowledge and enthusiasm for neuroscience outreach! Our hands-on demos prove that anyone can become a neuroscience educator. Furthermore… it’s not just a nice idea, it’s an urgent need! By inspiring a new generation of neuroscientists, together, we can all work to bring about the Neurorevolution! Thanks SFN, see you next year!

Student Project: Neurotransmitter Effectivity Part II

Continuing my Research

Hi Everyone!
My name is Pranav Senthilkumar and I’m a rising senior at Mission San Jose High School in California. I have previously shared my work devising a neuroprosthetic device with the help of Dr. Marzullo, and now with his excellent guidance, I am starting another major neuroscience project.


Control Video Games with your Brain!

As educators, we are always trying to keep up with our students. We understand that technology is evolving at a rapid pace, and the way students entertain themselves in their free time is changing. Video games are an incredibly popular activity among students of all ages. To best engage with students, our aim is to blend their interests with science, to let them flex their gaming skills alongside their budding critical-engineering perspective, and best yet, to make STEM learning just a little bit competitive!

The Game Controller

The BYBGame Controller allows students to capture electrical signals from their muscles, hearts, and eyes, and use these spikes of activity to control video games!

Starting with simple games like Super Mario, Galaga, and Pong, students learn the basics of biofeedback. In medicine and physical therapy, similar systems are used to help people exercise, train motor control, and build strength!

This phenomenon is also an example of assistive technology! Not everyone is physically able to use the standard Mouse & Keyboard / video game controllers which many of us use to interface with our video games and computers. Systems like these allow for differently-abled peopled to plug in and play games using other parts of their body!

Upping the Complexity… What about 3D video games?

Students can continue to explore with the Game Controller and come up with ways to interface with all of their favorite games.

Check out this simple example above of how Will set up World of Warcraft to take input from his eyes and arms.

Program Your Own Game Controller with the Muscle SpikerShield Pro

“But 3 inputs isn’t enough to play my favorite game!”

I hear you. Me too.

Using the Muscle SpikerShield Pro and some simple code, you can take over total keyboard and mouse control.

In this example, I combined the Muscle SpikerShield Pro and Game Controller to have 9-inputs into World of Warcraft.

  1. Start Running
  2. Stop Running
  3. Turn Left
  4. Turn Right
  5. Target Enemy
  6. Change Target
  7. Small Attack
  8. Big Attack
  9. Heart-Beat Display

With just a bit of troubleshooting, I was able to actively play an online, multiplayer game, using only signals from my muscles and heart as inputs!

What about Multiplayer games?

Lastly, also using the Muscle SpikerShield Pro, students can control and compete in multiplayer games!

In real physical therapy, this is an effective way to motivate sedentary or injured people to exercise targetted parts of their bodies! It’s also a lot of fun… I asked Zach and Caitlin to help for just a few minutes, and then they played all the way up to over 100 points!

Get Started with the Game Controller – an Expansion kit for the Muscle SpikerBox Pro

The Game Controller is an expansion product which requires a Muscle SpikerBox Pro and a Desktop or Laptop computer running Windows or MacOS.

Check it out in our store, and put your students on a cutting edge track to come up with the biofeedback devices of the future!