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The Fantastic Muscle Music Machine Experiment Trilogy

Music is a passion, an art, a science, but maybe most importantly… music is fun! Variations of “electronic instruments” can be traced back as early as the late 1700s, but it is no exaggeration to say that the biggest breakthrough was the invention of Synthesizers in the 1950s. This marriage of music and electrical engineering undoubtedly has inspired and continues to inspire people to learn more about both the science of electricity and music.

Our newest trilogy of experiments is designed to get any student or hobbyist experimenting and developing with a new kind of musical interface…. a Brain-Music Interface! Electrical signals from your brain and your muscles will become the music you hear. Check out the experiments below!

Making Music with a Muscle

This lab is an excellent introduction to Arduino Programming and to Modifying Pre-Written Code. You and your students will begin by uploading new code to the Muscle SpikerShield, then we’ll show you just how to modify it so you can play your own musical creations!

Experiment: Making Music with a Muscle

The Multiple Music Muscle Generator

Use the Muscle SpikerShield Pro to control up to six independent outputs. In this case, it will be musical tones. Time to generate music by moving your body. Your dancing makes the melody and the beat!

Then experiment and change the notes and tones your muscles will generate.

Experiment: The Multiple Muscle Music Generator

The MIDI Muscle Machine

The prophecy is fulfilled, and you will become the music and the movement! Control a real musical instrument with your muscles via the MIDI interface. Now you can interface your own nervous system with real electronic instruments! Invent new styles and forms of music!

See it featured on the Chilean show El Hormiguero where guest Antonio Banderas gets to see how its done!

Experiment: The MIDI Muscle Machine

The Tools to Make it Possible


You are in control… literally! Now you can control machines and electronics of your Arduino projects with the electrical activity of your muscles! What will you create?

Take your DIY biohacker projects to the next level with the Muscle SpikerShield Pro, a Human-Machine-Interface device that allows you to record EMG signals from up to six muscles at a time!

Brain Awareness Week Brings Hands-On Neuroscience to All

Check out these awesome examples of Citizen Neuroscience!

Another Brain Awareness week has come and gone. But if you missed it, don’t think you can’t still get involved with Neuroscience Outreach! Organized by the Dana Foundation, Brain Awareness Week is a chance for educators to highlight neuroscience!

Whether you want to teach neuroscience in your classroom, or you and your students want to educate the public, our resources at Backyard Brains are powerful assets for all citizen neuroscientists.

You don’t have to take my word for it…

I’ll let the public do the talking! Check out these awesome examples from Twitter of Brain Awareness Week events featuring hands-on, educational neuroscience.

The admissions counselors LOVE Neuroscience outreach, and dreams do come true!

One last little observation we observed on Twitter… congrats to the recent acceptance!

Brain Awareness week may be over, but that doesn’t mean neuroscience outreach is ever out of fashion! Check out our Experiments and Store for information about how to bring these demos, and more, to life for students in the classroom, strangers at the bar, or wherever educational outreach may take you


Educators get Hype for DIY EEG (Brain Recordings!)

Take it from Twitter: Low-cost EEG is a powerful teaching tool!

As a business, it can be strange to package and ship off all these different neuroscience education tools, wondering if they’ll like their new home, will they make a difference in this big, strange world?

Much like a proud parent, we are always excited when we see tweets and testimonials like this one from an international user in Ireland, preparing to use one of our DIY EEG devices for neuroscience outreach!

Not just that, but it inspired a fun follow-up conversation amongst other Twitter users:

We’ve got history, humor, and enthusiastic recommendations all in one!

Brief History of EEG

What John and Mark are referencing is Hans Berger’s pioneering work in brain recordings, the results of which were published in 1929: see the publication here in its full, German language glory!

Wikipedia provides a nice summary of this original experiment:

His method involved inserting silver wires under the patient’s scalp, one at the front of the head and one at the back. Later he used silver foil electrodes attached to the head by a rubber bandage. As a recording device, he first used the Lippmann’s capillary electrometer, but results were disappointing. He then switched to the string galvanometer and later to a double-coil Siemens recording galvanometer, which allowed him to record electrical voltages as small as one ten thousandths of a volt. The resulting output, up to three seconds in duration, was then photographed by an assistant.

The original recording from that string galvanometer is pictured in John Butler’s tweet!

Fortunately, 90 years has advanced technology considerably, allowing us to perform the same experiment and view the same results with our non-invasive EEG Sweatband!

Much less intimidating than inserting silver wires under the scalp!

The Tools to Make it Possible

Bring this EEG experiment and demonstration to your classroom!

Heart and Brain SpikerBox ($150):

Record from your Heart, your Brain, and even your Eyes… EEG, EKG, and EOG allow us to study more complex electrical systems that are responsible for nearly everything that makes us human.

Experiments: