True Hands-on Learning With Neuroprosthetic Experiments!
My students need a Human-Human Interface, to experiment with as a way to understand neuroprosthetics - how a person's brain can control an artificial limb using the available neurons that remain after amputation!
I teach biotechnical engineering and biology at an urban school. The former class is currently studying biomedical engineering and the amazing capability of prosthetics, orthopedics, and human potential. One of the most fascinating things we're researching is neuroscience and motor function - how an amputee can have a device attached to a limb that will respond to commands using only their THOUGHTS!
My students are so enthusiastic and motivated to use technology in the classroom, often saying: "Why can't WE do that" and I hate using lack of funding as an excuse.
I want to be able to say "WE CAN!!!" Since, many of my students cannot afford school supplies, let alone enrichment activities, they sometimes feel that they do not have the same opportunites. I want to stress to them that they are important and are worthy of such supplies and equipment - that their education is valued. I would love to be able to bring a complex field like neuroscience to their level with visual data and tangible experiments.
1 in 5 people are likely to develop an incurable neurological disorder in their lifetime. Yet, my students will never get the chance to study neuroscience in high school! Such sophisticated equipment was too expensive or unattainable until college. Then, while studying new biomedical engineering devices, my students and I came across Backyard Brains. This company uses "off-the-shelf electronics" to create kits for educators and novices to use to understand the inner workings of the nervous system!
I want to bring neuroscience and engineering to my students to help them understand how an amputee can control a prosthetic arm or hand using only their brain and existing neurons!
With this amazing equipment, my students can experiment with the nervous system and their own muscles/responses as we discuss prosthetics in our biomedical unit. Basically, the Human-Human-Interface allows me to use electrodes on one student's arm to record his/her brain activity (electrical impulse) when they make a fist. We then connect the electrodes to another student. Then, when the first student THINKS about moving his/her arm, the second student's arm moves!!! With your help, we can experiment with this tool in various ways to spark an interest in this amazing field and help students understand how they can be biomedical engineers or neuroscientists and better the world!
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