Apparently the $100 spike boyz have been busy bees over the past year. To recap:
As I stumbled back deep into the UU section (the end) of the afternoon SfN poster session in search of coffee, I noticed a bit of a crowd surrounding a poster board, in rapt attention. As I approached they started laughing and clapping. This is unusual. There is rarely a crowd back in the History / Teaching (and now Ethics) section of the poster sessions.
I decided to investigate.
Their submitted abstract lays out the goal of the study:
We here present a self-imposed engineering challenge. If we have a standard PC laptop and a cricket caught in the back yard, can we record a spike (action potential) for under $100 using components purchased solely from local neighborhood hardware stores and Radioshack?
They have incorporated as Backyard Brains. This is fantastic. So what are they about?
About "Backyard Brains"
As grad students at University of Michigan, co-founders Tim and Greg often interacted with schoolchildren during neuroscience outreach events. Children consistently demonstrate creativity, however they are frequently unaware of the possibilities of biotechnology. Electronic kits, ant farms, chemistry sets, and toy microscopes are currently available, however these devices do not provide insight into the inner workings of the body.
We developed a bio-technology kit that was affordable and user-friendly to be used in classrooms and at home. We look forward to bringing you our first product, the Spikerbox, in a few weeks.
Gage and Marzullo....take it away.