About Backyard Brains
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About "Backyard Brains"

As grad students at the University of Michigan, co-founders Tim and Greg often interacted with schoolchildren during neuroscience outreach events. We often wanted to show real "spiking" activity to students, but this was impossible due to the high cost of equipment. By using off-the-shelf electronics, we designed kits that could provide insight into the inner workings of the nervous system.

Our first product, the Spikerbox, uses invertebrates to help you learn about how the cells in the brain work to communicate. We also have an Muscle SpikerBox that you can use to record electrical activity produced by cells in human muscles. If the science behind these products appeals to you, you should also check out the Completo, which is a full tabletop, portable electrophysiology rig. All of our products are accompanied with Lesson Plans and Experiments to make learning (and teaching) neuroscience a breeze.

We have a number of other popular products for use in both the classroom and in any lab performing science, including: the RoboRoach, that can give you insight into neurostimulation, a Micromanipulator that can help you position your electrodes precisely, and a RoachScope that allows you to turn your mobile phone into a microscope.

Thank you for your interest in Backyard Brains.

Our Development Team

Above: Backyard Brains at its fourth SfN Booth! (October 2015).

  • Greg Gage, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Engineer. gagegreg@backyardbrains.com. Working on teams: Software, Electrical Engineering, Sales, Marketing
  • Tim Marzullo, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Engineer. tim@backyardbrains.com. Working on teams: Invertebrate Physiology, Mechanical Engineering, Sales, Education
  • Zorica Reic, Production Manager. zorica@backyardbrains.com Working on team: Production. Ensures we have enough 10k resistors in inventory and that all orders get out in timely fashion all over the world.
  • John "Tinker" Nagle. Turner of wrenches, maker of motorcycle parts. john@backyardbrains.com Working on team: Production.
  • Zachary Reining. zach@backyardbrains.comWorking on team: Production.
  • Will Wharton. Poet. will@backyardbrains.com Working on teams: Content Development and Social Media Management.
  • Stanislav Mircic. Computer scientist. stanislav@backyardbrains.com Working on team: Software, Firmware, Hardware.
  • Marcio "Max" Amorim. Brazilian getting things done. max@backyardbrains.com Working on team: Engineering.
  • Sanja Jankovic, Psychologist. sanja@backyardbrains.com Working on teams: Accounting and Education. Handles our finances and helps us make up our surveys.
  • Caitlin Clayton, Production Staff, RollerDerby Master. Working on teams: Inventory and Production. Greases the skids so gear flies out the door quickly.
  • Cristina Mezuk, Artist. cristina@backyardbrains.com Working on team: Jealous Illustration.
  • Brian Tracy, Ph.D., Professor. brian@backyardbrains.com Working on teams: Education, Engineering. Advising us on our new human muscle experiments and hardware.
  • Edward Rantze, Financial Analyst and Engineer. Working on teams: Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Education. Evil genius. No product goes out without Ed's approval.
  • Charlie Taylor, Ph.D., Neuroscientist. charlie@backyardbrains.com Working on teams: Education, Science.
Our Santiago, Chile Team
  • Florencia Edwards, Writer, Literatura de Latinomerica Maestra. flo@backyardbrains.com Helping us with grants and day to day biz.
  • Pablo Guerra, Circuit Bender, Actor. The BYB official model, appears in most of our human interface videos.
  • Italo Ahumada Morasky, Comic Book Artist, Sculptor. Illustrates experiments we develop in Chile.
  • Alumni
    • Roberto Herrera Pellizzari, Designer, Builder of Bicycles. Designed new microscopes and interfaces for all the world.
    • Nick Ristow. Engineer and RC Pilot. Worked on team: Engineering.
    • Ivan "Vanya" Procopovich. Traceur, Artist. Worked on production and drew a lot of our artwork.
    • Gabriela Perez Itura, Media Artist. Worked on team: Production, Education.
    • Daniel Silva, Biochemist, Linguist. Worked on team: Education.
    • Bill Reith, Engineer, Maker. Worked on team: Product Engineering.
    • Dana Nelson, Education Hacker. Worked on team: Production.
    • Lorena Solar Rosales, Tutor. Helped us design our lectures in Spanish
    • Katie Wiykovics, Computer Scientist. Worked on team: Production.
    • Alex Hatch, Designer. Worked on team: Prototyping, Product Design.
    • Kyle Shannon, Recent UCSD neuroscience graduate. Worked on teams: Cognitive Science, Education, Sales, Marketing.
    • Josh Williams. Operations manager of Digital Ops and AHA. Education leader for Bright Futures. Worked on team: Production.
    • Brian Martin. MSU spartan and microscope expert. Worked on team: Production.
    • Greg Maynard, Paintball expert. Worked on team: Production.
    • Eric Hampton, Gamer, College Student. Worked on team: Production.
    • Teddy Morrow, Musician. Worked on team: Production.
    • Alex Wiltschko, Software Engineer and Harvard Grad Student. Developed our first iPhone application. Makes scientists everywhere jealous of his neuroscience and coding skills.
    • Ashton Powell, Ph.D., Neuroscientist and High School Educator. Worked on teams: Education, Invertebrate Physiology.
    • Zachary King, UCSD Graduate Student and Software Engineer, Worked on team: Brilliant Code.
    • Nathan Dotz, Software Developer. Worked on teams: Software, Production, General Hacking. Developed our first Android app.
    • Andre Snellings, Ph.D., Neural Engineer. Worked on teams: Education, Signal Analysis.

    Above: Backyard Brains at its first SfN Booth! (October 2012). Photo by Michael Mitchell


Phone: +1 (855) 438-7745 [GET-SPIKES]
Fax: +1 (734) 527-5965
Email: hello@backyardbrains.com
Address: 308 1/2 S. State, Suite 35, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

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45,814 First Timers!

We try to keep track of how many people have heard what neurons sound like for the first time with our SpikerBoxes. To date (Mon, Jan-25-2021) at least 45,814 now know what their brains sound like.

See more statistics, or add your own spikes to our growing list.

Our Finances

We are not only open-source, we are open books. Feel free to browse our cash flow at http://finance.backyardbrains.com.

Our Customers

Where, oh where, have our little SpikerBoxes gone? Our map at http://map.backyardbrains.com has the answers. We've coded each customer: University professors are orange, grad students are brown, amateur scientists are yellow, and our high school teachers are in green. Unknown is red.