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Neuroscience for Everyone!

+1 (855) GET-SPIKES (855-438-7745)

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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 have also launched an EMG SpikerBox that you can use to record electrical activity produced by cells in human muscles. All of our products are accompanied with Lesson Plans and Experiments to make learning (and teaching) neuroscience a breeze.

We also have three products that are still in beta: the RoboRoach, that can give you insight into neurostimulation, a Micromanipulator that can help you position your electrodes precisely, and a SmartScope 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 first SfN Booth! (October 2012). Photo by Michael Mitchell

  • Greg Gage, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Engineer. Working on teams: Software, Electrical Engineering, Sales, Marketing
  • Tim Marzullo, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Engineer. Working on teams: Invertebrate Physiology, Mechanical Engineering, Sales, Education
  • Kyle Shannon, Recent UCSD neuroscience graduate. Working on teams: Cognitive Science, Education, Sales, Marketing. He spends his days wondering how to relate bug neurons to human neurons.
  • Alex Hatch, Desinger. Does his best thinking when he can near the sounds of the 3D printer's stepper motors. Working on team: Prototyping, Product Design.
  • Zorica Reic, Production Manager. 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.
  • Sanja Jankovic, Psychologist. Working on teams: Accounting and Education. Handles our finances and helps us make up our surveys.
  • Cristina Mezuk, Artist, Working on team: Jealous Illustration.
  • Dana Nelson, Education Hacker. Working on team: Production.
  • Bill Reith, Engineer. Quite possibly the world's only person to be 100% dedicated to building cyborgs. Working on team: Production.
  • Josh Williams. Operations manager of Digital Ops and AHA. Education leader for Bright Futures. Working on team: Production.
  • Ivan "Vanya" Procopovich. Hard core Parkour (video). Working on team: Production.
  • Brain Martin. MSU spartan and microscope expert. Working on team: Production.
  • Brian Tracy, Ph.D., Professor. Working on teams: Education, Engineering. Advising us on our new human muscle experiments and hardware.
  • Jennifer Marzullo, Educator, Wife. Working on teams: Learning, Proposals, Fruit Fly Control
  • Edward Rantze, Financial Analyst and Engineer. Working on teams: Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Education. Evil genius. No product goes out without Ed's approval.
  • Susan Trigger, Lawyer, Mother-in-Law. Working on teams: real estate, compliance. Allowed Tim to convert her basement into a neuroscience lab stocked with multiple colonies of crickets, cockroaches, and fruit flies. Permitted RoboRoach tests on kitchen floor.
  • Charlie Taylor, Ph.D., Neuroscientist. Working on teams: Education, Science.
Our Santiago, Chile Advisors
  • Tiburcio De La Carcova, Veteran Hacker. Founder of Atakama Labs. Helping us launch our Manipulator Prototype and is building the first HackerSpace in Chile.
  • Matias Gutierrez, Biologist, Master of Distribution. Founder of Teaching us the correct way to distribute the science.
  • Daniel Silva, Biochemist, Linguist. Converting our Experiments into Spanish.
  • Hector Fuentes, Engineer. Helping to digitize our SpikerBox.
  • 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.
  • Grant Trigger, Lawyer, Hobbyist, Father-in-Law. Worked on teams: Mechanical Engineering. Helped make our enclosures much easier to produce. Converted garage into small machine shop.
  • 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: Our Michigan Team working for you (November 2011).

We all love nostalgia, and Backyard Brains is no different. Take a moment to view the photos of the birth of our company.


Phone: +1 (855) 438-7745 [GET-SPIKES]
Fax: +1 (734) 527-5965
Address: 525 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

45,727 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 (Fri, Apr-19-2019) at least 45,727 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

Our Customers

Where, oh where, have our little SpikerBoxes gone? Our map at 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.