Backyard Brains Logo
+1 (855) GET-SPIKES


items ()

Recommended Gear

Revision as of 23:39, 1 November 2012 by Timothy (Talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)

Do you have a neuroscience lab with some visitors coming, and you just want to show some action potentials? Are you a lecturer who wants to show some physiology during your talks? Or are you a high school/university lab teacher and want to run a neuroscience workshop? Here we humbly break down what we recommend you can do with our equipment and experiments.

1. If you are doing a 10 minute quick demo for lab visitors or a brain awareness event

The best demo's are:

  1. cockroach spikes
  2. cockroach microstimulation.

For these experiments, you need:

  1. SpikerBox
  2. Stimulation Cable
  3. Smartphone Cable

You will find an external speaker and y-splitter will be very useful so you can hear and see the spikes at the same time.

2. If you are giving a 50-80 minute classroom lecture

We often give formal lectures to high school / university students, and we lecture in 15 minute blocks separated by five minute experiments. This is very effective in keeping students engaged. The four experiments we do typically are:

  1. cockroach spikes
  2. cockroach microstimulation.
  3. earthworm conduction velocity
  4. Human EMG (Muscle) Recordings with our EMG SpikerBox

Though above is our most "standard" setup, some optional experiments we add, depending on request and student body composition, are

  1. Cricket NeuroPharmacology
  2. NeuroProsthetics Analog
  3. RoboRoach Demo

For these experiments, you need:

  1. SpikerBox
  2. Stimulation Cable
  3. Smartphone Cable
  4. 2-channel SpikerBox
  5. Faraday Cage
  6. EMG SpikerBox
  7. Patch Cable

You will find an external speaker and y-splitter will be very useful so you can hear and see the spikes at the same time.

For the optional experiments, you need:

  1. Crickets Neuropharmacology - MSG from your local Asian Import Store and some cigarettes
  2. NeuroProsthetics - an additional external speaker, some sewing needles, and an additional patch cable
  3. RoboRoach - A RoboRoach kit

3. If you are doing a workshop with students and/or educators over a-half day

Do everything as above in #2, but you should purchase DIY Classroom kits so that the attendees can build the SpikerBoxes. Simply building your own science equipment is a fun experience for many, and the "mixed lecture" style where you lecture for 10-20 minutes, let attendees build for 40-50 minutes, and repeat over a few hours, is a nice workshop recipe.

4. If you are designing a high school neuroscience lab module

We recommend purchasing the

  1. DIY classroom kit
  2. 2-channel upgrade kit,
  3. a handful of smartphone and stimulation cables

This will give you four normal SpikerBoxes and one 2-channel SpikerBox. Usually students can work in groups of 2 or 3, though since neurophysiology is new for many people, effective classroom management by the teacher with 1-3 helpers is recommended. The experiments that work best for first-timers are:

  1. Rate Coding
  2. Temperature
  3. Oxygen Dependance
  4. Conduction Velocity
  5. NeuroProsthetics

Optional: -Student may enjoy:

  1. human EMG recordings
  2. RoboRoach Demo

for extrapoloations of current neurotechnology.

5. If you are designing a university level lab module

You can repeat the same protocol as the above "high school level" workshop to get your students introduced to neurophysiology, but then you can ask the students to propose their own project. Some ideas are:

  1. More extensive Cricket Pharmacology experiments
  2. Neuroprosthetics using human EMG as a control signal
  3. Modifying our equipment to record EKG's (heartbeats) or other signals
  4. More sophisiticated analyis of spike trains and wave shape

If your students come up with a good experiement, we can add it to our library and credit your student and class as the developers! Your experiments could be repeated around the world!

6. If you live by the sea and have access to marine resources

We are jealous of you. We spend about two-four weeks/year at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA, and we have found many preparations you can work on, such as

  1. Changing Chromatophores in Squid
  2. EMGs of walking crabs

We are also slowly working on learning how to record from sea anemones, snails, and clams.

7. If you are designing a postdoctoral level workshop for advanced engineers/scientists

Tell them to invent their own equipment. It will probably be better than ours. But if not, see high school module above.