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April 14, 2014 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-04-14

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, A pril 14, 2014 - 5A

BACKYARD BRAINS

RIGHT: A member of the Backyard Brains production team solders connections on
spiker boxes used for demonstrations at Backyard Brains on State Street.
LEFT: Students from Saline, Milan and Scarlett Middle School participate in academic
demonstrations at the Michigan League where they make severed cockroach legs
dance by stimulating muscle nerves with electrodes.
MIDDLE: John Nagle, known as "Tinker", works for Backyard Brains at All Hands
Active makerspace.
BOTTOM: Using electrodes, severed cockroach legs are made to dance to "Gangnam
Style" during an academic demonstration at the Michigan League.

In a small basement workshop
in downtown Ann Arbor, two
workers mold and assemble
devices to allow anyone to explore
the brain. From elementary school
children to fascinated adults, the
team at Backyard Brains is working
to innovate the neuroscience
education world.
Started by two University gradu-
ate students while working in
their neuroscience lab, Greg Gage
and Tim Marzullo co-founded
Backyard Brains in 2009. Today,
they have a team that performs re-
search and development, produc-
tion, sales and educational demon-
strations located in Ann Arbor.
The team of scientists perform
experiments on cockroaches to
demonstrate the inner-workings
of nerves and the brain. During
their demonstrations, they are
able to make a cockroach's severed
leg dance to the beat of "Gangnam
Style," use electrodes to stimulate
nerves controlling muscles and
show how nerves respond to
stimulus.
-TEXT AND PHOTOS BY JAMES
COLLER

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