Codebreaker

Where neuroscience education meets… torture?

Jeff Horwich May 31, 2012

At-home science kits have taken kind of an odd turn with Backyard Brains. Let’s not sugarcoat this: this educational startup has developed a piece of open-source equipment (the “SpikerBox”) and instructions for how to dismember insects and run your own experiments to learn about how brains and nervous systems work.

For example: make a cockroach leg (“Don’t worry! It’ll grow back!”) jump to a hip-hop beat (see around 1:50 in this video):

Of course, a little educational vivisection is par for the course in high school and college biology classrooms. Somehow the idea of it as an at-home kit feels iffy… but should it, really? They’re just bugs, right?

Then again, maybe they’re more than just bugs. Check out Backyard Brains’ RoboRoach kit

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