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¡Neurociencia para Todos!

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¡Backyard Brains se habla español!

Han esperado…y esperado…y esperado…y finalmente ha llegado, gracias a la ayuda de Daniel Silva, Bioquímico de la Universidad Católica, el sitio está 95% en español! Ahora, estudiantes por toda América Latina pueden unirse a la Revolución Neuronal. Tan solo nos falta subtitular los videos y crear las figuras. Avísanos si encuentras algún error.

You have waited, and waited, and waited, and finally it has arrived, thanks to the help of Daniel Silva, Biochemist at the Universidad Católica, our Website is 95% translated in spanish! Now students across Latin America can join the NeuroRevolution. We only need to subtitle the videos and re-render the figures, which we will do shortly. Let us know if you find some errors.

You can switch back and forth between the Spanish and English version on our website by clicking on the Chilean or American Flag on the top of our website. ¡Bienvenidos!



Backyard Brains welcomes its First Employees!

After a month of exhausting collective bargaining negotiations, the Backyard Brains labor union has emerged with a new deal which brings not only organic/locally-grown lettuce for the cockroaches plus two new soldering irons for production, but more importantly the addition of 4 new faces to the Backyard Brains team! Please join us in welcoming our newest (and first, mind you) employees.

Ashton Powell – Teacher/Educator. Ashton joins the team for the summer of 2011 to help build the curricula for High School teachers. One of our weakness has been supplying teachers with the tools they need to build a lesson plan around neuroscience and electrophysiology. Ashton has his Ph.D. in neuroscience and is currently a teacher at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. As a previous customer of Backyard Brains, he has used the SpikerBox in his classrooms and challenged his students to design experiments. We look forward to the upcoming tools for teachers later this year!

Cristina Mezuk – Illustrator. Although we always pride ourself on our self-generated content, we are also aware that perhaps more detailed drawings may make things easier to understand. We were very lucky to find a local artist, Cristina Mezuk, to help us turn our initial drawings into professional illustrations. Cristina is a photographer and artist (you can check out the website of her work) that is helping us make our educational materials much more informative. See below for a few examples.

Zachary King – iPhone Developer. Zak comes to Backyard Brains via the Biomedical Engineering BME450 Design Class. Zak and his colleagues were working on an early prototype of the optogenetics kit that is still in development. Zak developed the iPhone interface and circuit to control the timing of a bright LED stimulus. He is currently working to improve the iPhone app written by Alex Wiltschko with some cool new features. Zak’s first update (version 1.7) will appear on the iTunes store in the weeks to come.

Nathan Dotz – Android Developer, Linux Hacker. You spoke, we listened. After all of our talk of being an open hardware and software company, we have heard your concerns about our lack of support for the open Android system. We are happy to have Nathan Dotz join our team to help us build an application for your Android mobile devices. As an talented hacker active in the All Hands Active Maker Space in Ann Arbor, Nathan is already really good at making hardware and software as cheap as possible. Nathan hopes to also develop a browser-based version of the app in the future.

Above: A tale of two platforms. What makes them different makes them great.

Backyard Brains sells 500th SpikerBox, is awarded NIH Grant, and lowers prices for summer

We began distributing SpikerBoxes on April 8th, 2010, and we are proud to announce that on June 15th, 2011, we shipped our 500th SpikerBox! The proud owner is a high school teacher in Minnesota who ordered 12 “Bags of Parts” for students to build and experiment with this summer. You can see our complete user breakdown on our finance page and map. In short, of the 510 SpikerBoxes we have shipped to 183 unique customers, 218 have been preassembled by us, and 292 have been where users build the SpikerBox themselves.

This operation has been a labor of love for us (working out of our living rooms and mother-in-law’s basement), and after 2.5 years of plugging away, we announce we are now ready to expand our team. We were recently awarded an NIMH SBIR grant: “Bringing Neurophysiology into Secondary Schools” to allow us to professionalize all our educational materials as well as build some new prototypes. We are currently recruiting to add a software developer and educator to our team. We thank the U.S. National Government for believing in our mission, and, of course, you the taxpayer!

And we want to thank you with more than a kind word. For the summer, we announce our first sale. The SpikerBox and Bag of Parts prices have now been lowered 10% to get neurophysiology into the hands of more and more people. We shall keep experimenting with production techniques to continue making neuroscience inquiry as affordable as possible.

To the NeuroRevolution!

-Tim & Greg