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Neural Interfaces Desde Santiago Hasta Oaxaca to Ann Arbor

In March 2014 we went to Mexico’s first Maker Faire, invited by Amor Muñoz, a Mexican Textile and Electronic artist, who we met at Chile’s Santiago MakerFaire in November 2013. The Mexico MakerFaire took place in Oaxaca, a place known for traditional crafts, pero ahora se esta transformando en un lugar de “Nuevos-Makers” de diseño, electronica, etc.

During this MakerFaire, we ran a two day workshop where we met Jose Enrique, un alumno de ingeniera electronica. He knew his electronics, y nos ayudó mucho durante el taller. Jose asked if he could have some extra equipment for his studies – specifically, an extra Arduino for more experiments with the EMG SpikerShield.

We said, “Sure, but promise us that you will send us a video of something you did with this gear, with a deadline of three weeks.” Y el lo hizo, tres semanas después nos envió un video de liquid cystal display (LCD) contralado con la actividad de sus músculos. So….Let’s do more! We gave him a job offer to design “three interfaces” with the EMG SpikerShield, and importantly, write them up in BYB style so we could add them to our website. Durante Mayo y Julio, trabajabamos en equipo, and now it’s ready – Versión en EnglishVersion in Español). You can learn how to control a stepper motor, an LCD screen, and a Gripper arm with your muscle activity!

Cuando todo estaba listo,  we asked Jose, “Gracias por tu buen trabajo, Can you send us your bank details so we can wire you the compensation for your good work?” Jose counter-offered, saying, “Can you send me an oscilloscope instead?”
Ummm….like… o sea….onda…  Yeah! we can do that. An engineer that wants to be paid in equipment that allows him to invent more? We approve. We bought the oscilloscope he wanted from Amazon and sent it on down to Oaxaca. It is now part of Jose’s lab. Gracias por tu trabajo Jose, e ¡inventa más! Con nuestros cerebros quemando con el fuego de creatividad y nuestras manos productivas podemos dar a luz cosas maravillosas a este mundo.  See Jose’s home lab below.  Eso es donde las ideas se transforman en realidad.

We should have expected no less. Our main method of communication has been through that popular invention of Mark Zuckerburg, and this is Jose’s profile photo. ¡Saludos! Stay tuned… we are now beginning to work on EEG’s together. Also, Happy Birthday Tesla!

 


Sleeping Beauty v2.0: A Reimagination of the Classic, by BYB Intern DJ Marta, ft. C. Roach

Hey, it’s the other intern, Marta. I’m the one that has been performing experiments on the circadian rhythm of the cockroaches. It’s like Sleeping Beauty, but with cockroaches! The last time I wrote a blog, I was using the Blaberus Discoidalis, but because the Periplaneta Americana deemed to be the better choice, since “they’re more active”, that’s the breed that I got stuck with. Don’t get me wrong, they’re great for my experiment, but they require a high amount of concentration and dedication to put them in a box without them running away…

Anyway, back to my experiment… I have made much progress in the past 4 weeks ago (more…)


Meet the BYB Lab Tech, Jake! The Guy Behind the Guy, Behind the Guy

My name is Jake Robbins and I have been working behind the scenes here at Backyard Brains this summer as a lab tech. I recently graduated from Novi High School, and will be attending Michigan State University this fall. My job at Backyard Brains has mostly consisted of working on much of the software coding involved in the intern’s experiments.

As the summer started off, I was working almost exclusively with Marta and her circadian rhythm project, learning how to use the arduino to spy on her test subjects around the clock. We tried all kinds of sensors in the cockroach bin to detect their motion over night. PIR motion sensors weren’t sensitive enough to detect the cockroaches and IR emitter/detectors weren’t practical due to high amounts of data analysis that would be required. When we first tried using an IR reflective sensor with a hamster wheel, (more…)