As educators, we are always trying to keep up with our students. We understand that technology is evolving at a rapid pace, and the way students entertain themselves in their free time is changing. Video games are an incredibly popular activity among students of all ages. To best engage with students, our aim is to blend their interests with science, to let them flex their gaming skills alongside their budding critical-engineering perspective, and best yet, to make STEM learning just a little bit competitive!
The Game Controller
The BYBGame Controller allows students to capture electrical signals from their muscles, hearts, and eyes, and use these spikes of activity to control video games!
Starting with simple games like Super Mario, Galaga, and Pong, students learn the basics of biofeedback. In medicine and physical therapy, similar systems are used to help people exercise, train motor control, and build strength!
This phenomenon is also an example of assistive technology! Not everyone is physically able to use the standard Mouse & Keyboard / video game controllers which many of us use to interface with our video games and computers. Systems like these allow for differently-abled peopled to plug in and play games using other parts of their body!
Upping the Complexity… What about 3D video games?
Students can continue to explore with the Game Controller and come up with ways to interface with all of their favorite games.
Check out this simple example above of how Will set up World of Warcraft to take input from his eyes and arms.
Program Your Own Game Controller with the Muscle SpikerShield Pro
“But 3 inputs isn’t enough to play my favorite game!”
I hear you. Me too.
Using the Muscle SpikerShield Pro and some simple code, you can take over total keyboard and mouse control.
In this example, I combined the Muscle SpikerShield Pro and Game Controller to have 9-inputs into World of Warcraft.
With just a bit of troubleshooting, I was able to actively play an online, multiplayer game, using only signals from my muscles and heart as inputs!
In real physical therapy, this is an effective way to motivate sedentary or injured people to exercise targetted parts of their bodies! It’s also a lot of fun… I asked Zach and Caitlin to help for just a few minutes, and then they played all the way up to over 100 points!
Get Started with the Game Controller – an Expansion kit for the Muscle SpikerBox Pro
The Game Controller is an expansion product which requires a Muscle SpikerBox Pro and a Desktop or Laptop computer running Windows or MacOS.
Check it out in our store, and put your students on a cutting edge track to come up with the biofeedback devices of the future!
Earlier this year we received an order for a Human-Human-Interface that had our team glowing with excitement. It was addressed to none other than Bill Nye and one of his producers on Bill Nye Saves the World. In this recent Netflix show, Bill Nye and his science correspondents dig into the world of popular science, investigate the unknown, debunk misconceptions, and spread awareness of issues that the scientific community works to tackle every day.
In the last episode of the third season, Bill Nye and his correspondent, the hilarious and insightful Joanna Hausmann, experiment with some mind control… Bill hooks Joanna up to the Human-Human-Interface and describes the neuroscience behind the experiment before Joanna takes total control of Bill. For Bill Nye, Neuroscience has never been more exciting!
Check it out on Netflix: Season 3, Episode 6 of Bill Nye Saves the World! You and your students will enjoy seeing the clip as much as Joanna enjoyed controlling Bill!
Who will be next? Will it be Neil deGrasse Tyson? Will it be you?
Check it out in the store below and bring the excitement of this hands-on lab to your classroom. Use it as a “phenomena anchor” to get your students hooked on the life sciences, and watch as they start digging in deep to understand how it all works.
Zachary Quinto explores the world of Mind Control Tech, including our own!
Several months ago, we were visited by a film crew and a notable celebrity to film Neuroscience experiments for a History Channel show. We’re excited to finally share our spot with you on “In Search Of,” a documentary style show hosted by Zachary Quinto, which investigates pop-sci phenomena, including… Mind Control! Check out our feature below.
We filmed several experiments with Zach, but unfortunately only our Human-Human-Interface was featured on the show, with the rest of that footage likely filed away and lost forever… Alas, thus is showbiz.
Behind the Scenes
Zach can’t hide from College Students
Everyone on campus is freaking out because Steve Carrell is touring with his daughter, but I just sat across from Zachary Quinto at Starbucks pic.twitter.com/bg2tE0564p
It’s no secret that College Students watch a lot of Netflix… so for Zachary Quinto, who has classic roles on the TV shows Heroes and American Horror Story, and who plays young Spock in the new Star Trek Movies, a college campus is the last place he should expect to fly under the radar.
Shortly after filming at our office, tweets and a local news article popped up, outing Zach for his attempt at using a fake name at the Starbucks right down the street from our office.
Zachary Quinto thinks he can come into MY Starbucks, use the fake name Josh for his order, and not get recognized?? Girl check ur eyebrows
To his credit, he didn’t realize our downtown Ann Arbor office is so near the central campus of University of Michigan, and I don’t think anyone can blame a celebrity for wanting to blend in. See a bashful Quinto explain himself in these clips below from James Corden’s Late Show!
Regardless, it made for an interesting day as students explored campus trying to land celebrity selfies with himself and Steve Carrell, who was ALSO in Ann Arbor that day.
One last tabloidy fact, then onto your regularly scheduled neuroscience content: Zachary Quinto is not a fan of cockroaches, citing previous filming experiences with cockroaches that went awry… but he was excited about our approach to neuroscience education, invertebrate and human physiology, and of course human-machine-interfacing technology!