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.)
Cats and dogs aren’t the only pets fond of chasing things that run away from them. Aquarium fish do it too, as shown in our new peer-reviewed paper that came out just last week in the “Animals” journal! Out of 66 fish species observed, nearly 90% showed interest in or set out to chase moving laser pointed dots.
Another reason for pride is the fact that this research adds another layer of proof to what we’ve been saying all along: (neuro)science doesn’t have to cost a fortune. This particular experiment only requires a couple of things that many people already have: a fish tank with some inhabitants (the more, the merrier!) and a laser pointer or two. Incredibly easy to replicate in, say, your biology classroom!
Our DIY neuroscience gear has already seen over a hundred countries all over the world. And it doesn’t intend to stop! So to scratch the gear’s itch, we decided to organize two more demoes in Europe—this time, in Branko Radicevic High School and Simeon Aranicki Elementary in the town of Stara Pazova (Serbia).
Our team members Stefana, Nestor and Vojin hit the biology classes with 1st- to 4th-graders, as well as 7th- and 8th-graders. There, they held workshops presenting our latest version of Human-Human Interface.
As ever, the kids were flabbergasted with the opportunity to hijack another person’s free will and “steal” their electrical impulse. But our team also planted some seeds that we hope will sprout into lifelong interest in robotics, computer science, medicine and related fields.
Aside from the sheer fun of arranging who’s going to control whom, the kids also got to measure the intensity of the impulse and figure out the muscle/fat ratio in our bodies. “You scratch my back, I scratch yours” gets a whole new meaning when Human-Human Interface, our mind-controlling device, enters the stage! Is it “I use your hand to scratch my back” now?
Over these past few months, we’ve been busy spreading the word to other corners of the planet too. From our old friends in Odessa, TX to the far-away Seoul, South Korea where we delivered some gear and taught neuroscience to North Korean refugees.
Do you have somewhere you think we should visit? Feel free to ping us on Twitter!