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New Cockroach Species Arrives

We currently have used American Cockroaches (Periplaneta americana) in our experiments, but we have to order them from Carolina Biological Supply in North Carolina, and they are a bit expensive due to live animal shipping charges. No angst towards that fantastic company, but we have been looking for a local supplier that can give us cockroaches at reduced cost. Fear not! Pet Supplies Plus, within walking distance of our labs and workshops can provide us Discoid Cockroaches (Blaberus discoidalis) at ~$10/dozen! I picked some up last week, they are actually rather cute and look like giant roly-polys. Guess we’ll have some company on our roadtrip to Kansas City to visit the Kauffman Foundation

discoid cockroach

Spikes on the OLPC

Backyard Brains is beginning to make in-roads with the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) initiative. This week we were able to display spike waveforms from a cockroach leg in real-time on the OLPC laptop. We are using the “Measure” application to display the data. Note the spikes on the XO PC below from our prototype 3 of the Spikerbox.

First XO Spikes

There are still some features lacking that we will need to get sorted out before we can use the OLPC for experiments. We would like to be able to theshold the spikes in real time, as well as figure out how to retrieve the stored data for analysis.