Backyard Brains Logo

Neuroscience for Everyone!

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

items ()

Backyard Brains Donates Neuroscience Gear to Science Fair Winners

backyard brains donates neuroscience gear

Many a high schooler has won a science fair or two using our neuroscience gear. But this science fair season, we decided to support the next generation of scientific innovators in a slightly different way: by donating prizes to the top projects at the Larchmont Charter High School Science Fair in Los Angeles!

This event is their science department’s biggest sci-comm gathering of the year, where students in grades 9-12 showcase their best models, experiments, and inventions. The range of projects on display was impressive: from greenhouse effect simulations to the impact of global warming on agriculture, holographic projectors, the development of a recycled plastic wood alternative construction material, and even a colony on Mars.

And the victors? Well, they’re nothing short of impressive. Two of them, Owen Fishman and Reese Fishman, won the top prize for developing a biodegradable straw and conducting an experiment to test its rate of breakdown under various conditions. Not only is their project a nod to the importance of sustainability, but it’s also a great reminder of how science helps solve real-life problems. And now they’ll get to try their hands at DIY neuroscience with the SpikerBox, the Claw, and the SpikerShield! Other prizes were donated by Horizon Education, JPL, the Planetary Society, and Plant Wave.

So here’s to the bright minds and their brainy projects! Congratulations to all the participants and winners of the Larchmont Charter High School Science Fair. We can’t wait to see what you’ll accomplish next. (Hint: It may or may not have to do with spikes!)

Backyard Brains Co-Founder Tim Marzullo on Roll With the Punches Podcast

So you can use a device to remote control a cockroach. Or another device to control a friend’s body by hooking up their arm with your brain’s electrical activity. But can you use this same device to control their body during a box match, all from a relative safety outside the ring?

This and many other questions were discussed in the podcast “Roll With the Punches,” in a dynamic exchange between the host Tiffanee Cook and our co-founder, Dr. Tim Marzullo. Tiff is a boxer, so her interest in using electrophysiology for remote punching an opponent is not surprising. But there were other topics too, all lined up and unravelled in a casual, non-nerdy way.

For example, why the heart isn’t part of our muscular system even though it is technically a muscle. Or whether human electrophysiology can be used to improve someone’s capacity to learn. Or how to muscle your way through a chromatic scale. Or play Super Mario Bros. without a controller, just flexing your arms to make him run left or right and blinking your eyes to have him jump! Of course, the question of fireballs remains to be solved. But as Tim concludes, you don’t need fireballs if you run and jump really well!


Don’t Blink, You Might Miss It! Can Machine Learning Be Our Eyes and Ears?

Can Machine Learning Be Our Eyes - hardware for FOMO glasses

— Written by Ariyana Miri —

Welcome back FOMO gang!

If you’ve been following along with my FOMO glasses journey, then you know I’m trying to build a pair of glasses that capture a photo every time you blink. In my first post, we discussed the idea behind my project, and the implications the success of the project can have. In the second, we discussed the nature of an eye blink signal, and how the data is being processed. Today, we’re talking about hardware and how I’m actually putting the thing together, so check out the other posts if you haven’t had the chance yet!

Can Machine Learning Be Our Eyes - layered blinks

With my project, while the signal of an eye blink is stronger and easier to detect than others, the hardware aspect presents an entirely new challenge. How are we going to get everything to communicate together and fit on a pair of glasses?