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The Future of Tech: Take Photos Without Lifting a Finger!

Take Photos Without Lifting a Finger
The start of the model: Soak in the normalcy before it turns super-techie!

—Written by Ariyana Miri—

Welcome back! 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 last post, we discussed the idea behind my project, and the implications the success of the project can have! So check it out here if you haven’t had the chance yet!

The next steps in my project include implementing the AI model, and figuring out the best way to classify eye blinks in real time. Then, the hardware of how to actually build the device. However, in order to do that, we first need to understand the data.

Take Photos Without Lifting a Finger
What do your blinks look like?

The image above was taken from a dataset I took on myself, where I placed four electrodes surrounding one of my eyes, and filmed myself doing normal things like; talking, eating, working, watching TV… It’s important to have a natural dataset, because your unconscious blinks are much lighter and more subtle than when consciously blinking for a dataset.


The Daily Catch: Updates in the Exploration of Fish Play Behaviors

Exploration of Fish Play Behaviors
BYB tiger barbs going about their business

—Written by Sofia Eisenbeiser—

Please give a warm welcome to the newest additions to Backyard Brains: the tiger barbs!

Hello, everyone! It’s Sofia, coming at you with an update on the BYB fish.

So, we last left off with making the discovery that one of our African cichlid fish likes to chase a laser pointer around his aquarium. Shortly after making this finding, I decided to sneak into a pet store and shine some lasers into the aquariums there – what if other fish like to play laser tag, too? Just a few days ago (with permission from the pet store employees, of course) I set out to answer that very question.

I grabbed three laser pointers; one green, one red, and one blue, and shined each one into Every. Single. Aquarium.  As it turns out, a bunch of the fish chased after the lasers! And, beyond that, different types of fish chased after the lasers in different ways, with some showing preference for different colors. Some fish chased the lasers in schools, moving together in a group, some chased it individually, and some joined in with other fish who were chasing it after realizing how interested everyone else was.  


Building a Mind-Reading TinyML Device: a Road Paved With SVVEPs

mind-reading TinyML device
Endless hours of playing cards… ehem, collecting SSVEP data!

—Written by Nour Chahine—

As you may recall from my introductory blog post, this summer I’m working on building a TinyML device that can guess which card you secretly picked based on your brain’s EEG signal.

But it’s a road paved with many SSVEPs (Steady State Visually Evoked Potentials)!

These past two weeks have been all about SSVEP data collection. I wanted to determine what the optimal experimental conditions would be to elicit SSVEPs in subjects looking at flickering cards. I experimented with brightly lit rooms, dim rooms, and dark rooms. I tested various background colors on the screen and varied the epoch duration of trials to see if this would make a difference in the results.

 As expected, there was a huge difference, and I was able to pinpoint the optimal test setup conditions: dimly lit room, 30 second epochs, grey background!