Supriya isn’t new to being a state science fair laureate. Last year, this young fencer won the WSSEF award for measuring her muscles’ reaction time before and after warm-ups to improve her lunge performance.
This time around, she added the brain and heart into the equation, measuring her EEG, EKG and EMG with and without a 15-minute warm-up.
Backyard Brains’ mission is to spread neuroscience around the world. Our motto is Neuroscience for Everyone! So naturally, when a group of MIT undergraduate students led by Jiwon Kim contacted us, telling us that they were interested in our equipment for some classes they were teaching at Yeomyung School in Seoul, South Korea, we were very happy to help.
Yeomyung school is a school in downtown Seoul that helps North Korean refugees and children of North Korean refugees integrate into the South Korean society. The institute purchased four of our Heart and Brain SpikerBoxes to teach about the science of electrocardiograms (EKGs) and electroencephalograms (EEGs).
The equipment was delivered through our Korean distributor Osunhitech, who also attended the class with us. Backyard Brains helped teach the class and interacted with the students, along with the MIT students, Luyao Tian and Tiffany Louie, helping everyone with their experiments to see their own brain and heart rhythms.
All vertebrate animals have hearts (and many invertebrates too), and many have EKGs that can be non-invasively recorded as commonly done in humans. We have fairly hairless bodies, so we can easily put sticker electrodes on our wrists or chests to record our EKG.
However, many of us share our households with furry four-legged creatures that bring us joy, companionship, humor, protection and pest control. Could we record their EKGs too? We know that the smaller the mammal, the faster the heart rate, but can we see this trend in our own pets, and in a way that minimally annoys our household friends? Yes we can. Ladies and gentlemen, the Dog and Cat EKG.
For our dog EKG investigations, we chose a two-year-old Vizsla dog named “Santina”, cared for by BYBer Florencia Edwards. This dog has very short hair and a gentle disposition, making it ideal for our pilot experiments. We modified our EEG headband by using tennis wristbands instead, inserting metal buttons into the wristbands (the buttons we find in jeans and wallets), and slipped them on her front two legs (signal electrodes), and one rear leg (ground).