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2024 Summer Research Fellowship: High-Schoolers Design Brain-Machine Interfaces

2024 summer research fellowship in action

Move aside, air guitars! Thanks to one of our latest projects, it is now possible to air-conduct music so that it actually changes in tempo and volume as you move your arms.

This so-called neuro:baton is just one of 12 cool projects being developed on our 2024 Summer Research Fellowship that’s firing up as we speak. Within the following two weeks, 20 high-schoolers will be designing and/or honing these experiments in small teams. Like last year, this Fellowship is happening in Belgrade, Serbia. Also like last year, it will result in a handful of brand new experiments—some to be published in our new book on the inner workings of our mind and consciousness!

Others will hopefully make it to reputable peer-reviewed journals. (Yes, we can’t get enough of high-schoolers publishing papers ever since we nailed it on our first try.)

The talented kids recruited from Belgrade’s high schools are being mentored by two tiers of support: four undergraduates from the University of Michigan who piloted some of these experiments, plus our resident scientists and engineers.

neuro baton project
This is Sofia, one of the undergrad mentors and designer of the neuro:baton.

But making your arm muscles mightier than Herbert von Karajan’s isn’t the only thing our Fellows are working on. Other projects include:

  • a robotic keyboard that’s to be controlled by leg muscles,
  • Spiker-Man armband that flings web when you flex your fingers,
  • glasses that detect your eye blinks,
  • and more…

Say Hello to neuro:bit

You’ve guessed it by now: there’s a new gizmo in the Backyard Brains toolbox. It’s called neuro:bit, and it’s a tool that lets anyone easily build brain-machine interfaces (BMIs, also called BCIs or brain-computer interfaces). It interfaces with electrical signals from your body, and integrates with micro:bit, BBC’s award-winning educational microcomputer!

The only other thing you need is our standard orange cable with 2 recording electrodes and a ground.

neuro:bit, backyard brains tool

We’re putting together a repository with product documentation and experiments, where the new experiments will be added too. Check it out here, and stay tuned for more BYB news!

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