Backyard Brains Logo

Neuroscience for Everyone!

+1 (855) GET-SPIKES (855-438-7745)


items ()

Reserve your Spot: Teacher Training Workshop (January 31st)

This is a call to arms for science educators everywhere…

Following the success of our three-day teacher training workshop at the end of 2019, and our Summer 2019 Workshop on Reactions and Reflexes, we want to kick off 2020 with the next FREE workshop open to the public!

This workshop is coming up quick… so reserve your spot soon! Space is limited, but we will work to accommodate as many as we can.

When: January 31st, 9am-6pm

Where: Downtown Ann Arbor, MI.

The Workshop!

As a participant, you will engage in a full day of programming designed to help you on your way to becoming a domain expert in neuroscience education! This workshop will provide an introduction to each of our Flagship products, giving you hands-on experience recording from Invertebrates and the human heart, brain, eyes, and muscles.

Who should attend?

If you are a teacher who wants to bring the cutting edge to your classroom, this is for you! If you aren’t content with teaching the same thing over, and over, and over, and over again, we want to support you as you continue to innovate in your classroom.

This workshop is great for:

  • Middle School Science and STEM
  • High School Biology (Intro and Advanced)
  • High School Anatomy and Physiology
  • Interdisciplinary Courses
  • Science Dept. Leaders
  • Administrators seeking the next big thing!

No prior experience with our tools or labs required, but both beginners and old pro’s will take away valuable lessons and actionable ideas from the workshop!

You will learn…

Our first priority is in giving to the skills and knowledge needed to confidently bring these resources back to your classroom to help engage your students in this cutting-edge field of STEM education. You will receive hands-on training with the Backyard Brains tools, you will perform introductory experiments under the guidance of our trained staff and company co-founder, and finally, you will practice presenting your findings and teaching this new content because we believe teaching is the best way to learn.

Glowing Testimonials

We’ve received glowing feedback from our previous workshops! Here’s a few highlights:

“Thank you for the work you are doing to help us bring neuroscience to not just our students, but nationwide. Citizen science is an amazing tool for educators to use in the formation and creation of budding scientists — drawing out both the students that didn’t even know they were interested in school, by intriguing and igniting a curiosity they didn’t know they had, as well as sparking a new interest in discovery for your standard “good student” as well.” – Texas Teacher Attending Dec 2019 Workshop

“This is one of the best workshops I have attended. I am quite ‘demanding’ in what I expect when I attend for free and attend on a weekend … this workshop FAR exceeded my expectations and the lessons will be incorporated into my curriculum immediately. Thanks for all your efforts!” – California Teacher attending Jul 2019 Workshop

The Cost: Free!?

We know teachers are frugal by necessity, and the last thing you want to include in your request for a PD day and travel expenses for attending a workshop is that glaring “Cost to Attend: $$$” – which is why we offer our teacher training workshops for free!

If you already have gear back in your classroom, great! We will help you become a power-user. If you don’t have any Backyard Brains gear yet, we recommend The Toolbox, which contains one of each of our flagship products, which will all be featured in our workshop.


3-Day Teacher Workshop a Smashing Success!

Texas Teachers Brave Michigan Winter for Neuroscience Ed Workshop, and Love it!

Nine teachers from Texas join up with a few of us Neuroscience Education nerds in snowy Michigan… and holiday magic happens!

(more…)

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!