The SpikerBox: Shade Tree Neuroscience At Home

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There’s a startup company out there called Backyard Brains, run by a pair of neuroscientists who are marketing a piece of equipment they designed and built themselves called the SpikerBox.  And when you hear what this thing can do, you might be interested in becoming a shade tree neuroscientist yourself.

So what does a SpikerBox do?  Well, basically…it lets you read the minds of insects.

With a SpikerBox, you can effectively “eavesdrop” on the patterns of neurons firing in a bug’s mind by inserting metal probes into that insect’s leg.  The probes then transmit back data on the bug’s neural activity, called “spikes”, which can then be translated into sounds you can hear on the device’s onboard speaker or seen on your PC.

Admittedly, there’s not a whole lot of practical use for the SpikerBox, but it’s still a pretty sweet idea.  You ever read the mind of  a bug before?  SpikerBox is counting on your desire to do exactly that, and they’re looking for grant funding right now.


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