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ByB Says thanks to “Stew” of RadioShack.

Though online retailers such as Mouser, Digikey, and Sparkfun have huge inventories and are cheaper, sometimes it’s just faster to drive over to RadioShack at Briarwood Mall and pick up a component. Plus, there’s the aesthetic appeal of holding parts in your hand, staring at them, and getting a sense of the final design. Many an idea we have had simply looking and daydreaming at the stock shelves.

ByB hereby gives a heartfelt thank you to “Stew” of our local Radio Shack, who has often helped us find just that part we were looking for. There’s still a place for gearheads past all the cell phone accessories…


DIY Cockroach Water Dispenser

Tired of having to dampen those sponges, and adding fresh potatoes for your cockroaches during these dry winter months? Well, this may be the solution for you. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Twine (We borrowed some from Colin Stoetzner’s science video art project)
  • Shampoo/Mouthwash sampler bottle
  • Pair of Scissors
  • Cockroaches (Optional)

DIY Cockroach Water Spout

Simply poke a hole in the top of the bottle, thread the twine through, fill with water, and voil! You have yourself a self-feeding water bottle! The twine will continually be moist, allowing your little friends to drink during the cover of night.

Special thanks to Karen Coulter for giving ByB this tip from her days studying cockraoches for the RHex Robot Project.


The Grant Cycle is Over, and it’s now Dr. Gage

Backyard Brains has been rather quiet over the holiday season, but we’ve been busy behind the scenes. Notably, co-founder Gregory Gage successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation in Biomedical Engineering on December 22nd. Congrats!

Gage Defense

Backyard Brains also met David Egner, head of the New Economy Initiative in Michigan, which is a sponsor of Tim’s Kauffman Postdoctoral Fellowship. Tim and David discussed the possibility of a Michigan Postdoctoral Program to fund recent Ph.D.s from Michigan schools to start companies.

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Backyard Brains also moved out its old digs in the basement of the TechArb into the new location near the Google Offices on the fourth floor of the building at Liberty and Division…

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..while we still make our final choices on chip selection for our first run of SpikerBoxes. Thanks for your patience everyone!

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This Saturday (January 9th) also marked the end of the 6 week long grant run. We submitted three SBIR’s: 1 to the NSF, 1 to the NIH, and 1 to the Department of Education. In additional we submitted a few smaller grants: the GLEQ competition, the Advanced E-Team Grant, and finished a feasibility analysis for the the Dare to Dream Assessment competition. The Department of Education SBIR was turned in with five minutes to spare….

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Now back to the fun stuff of hardware and experiment design….