I am Derek Arro, a senior student at High School Alberto Blest Gana in Santiago, Chile. Currently, I have been working at Backyard Brains for 2 weeks, and I’m in charge of helping to write the manuscript for the experiments my team did with plant electrophysiology last semester. Backyard Brains is an incredible team that designs very educational and eye catching experiments.
In our case, we recorded the electrophysiology signals of various plants to a flame stimulus. To register the signal, we used the Backyard Brains Plant SpikerBox (amplifier) by wrapping a silver electrode covered with conductive gel around a branch and with a ground electrode connected to the…. ground. Our stimulus consisted of a flame applied to a leaf next to the silver electrode (see pictures above and below). Last semester, my classmates collected data on 14 different plants, from the famous Chilean Araucaria tree to normal basil herbs. We observed responses between 5-20 seconds after the flame stimulus in about 50% of our observations. After that, we uploaded our data analyses in Google Colab. This model serves to allow more researchers more access to the data to make a catalog of physiology of plant electricity and projects for people who want to start something in science.
We’re ending the eventful year of 2022 grand style – by sending our gear on yet another trip across the world to further our #NeuroRevolution! This time, it was George Town in Penang, Malaysia, where school kiddos got to try their hands at our Claw.
The neuroscience booth was part of an exhibition funded by American Tech Corner-on-Wheels (ATCoW) and organised by Penang Science Cluster, specially designed for primary and secondary school students to spark their interest in STEM. Kudos to the ATCoW team, who have been to about 2 dozen schools and public events in 2022, impacting close to 10,000 students!
If you happen to be nearby, you can follow their FB Page and find updates on ATCoW here.
We almost ran out of pens at the world’s biggest neuroscience conference! This year’s Society for Neuroscience (SfN) was the first in-person meeting since 2019. And we’re really happy that it happened. Firstly, we’ve so missed the nerdy vibes of sci-comm bustle. Secondly, taking a stroll under palms in sunny San Diego feels really nice in November! Last but not least, it would have been downright impossible to sign copies of our new book online.
Because that’s right, our new book, “How Your Brain Works: Neuroscience Experiments for Everyone” written by our co-founders, Drs. Greg Gage and Tim Marzullo, has just been released by MIT Press! It’s a lengthy volume yet easy to digest, and even easier to keep open as you fiddle with electrodes, insects or your own nervous system in your classroom or home lab.
The book contains over 50 experiments you can do anywhere you want if you have one of our SpikerBoxes. But even if you don’t, you can always flex your engineering abilities and DIY one using our open-source schematics!
The classroom-ready, open-ended experiments include:
What does our brain do when we exercise or hold our breath?
How do our brains tell our bodies to jump, dance, or sing?
How fast do signals travel down a neuron?
Can we really enhance our memories during sleep?
How does the brain get your attention?
How do brain stimulators (used in treating Parkinson’s disease) really work?