Science TED Fellows

TED Fellow Greg Gage turns a smartphone into a microscope

Posted by: Karen Eng

At TED2012, DIY neuroscientist and TED Senior Fellow Greg Gage shocked the TED audience when he cut the leg off a live cockroach onstage to demonstrate his Spiker Box – a device that allows anyone to see and hear spikes in the neural activity of insects.

A year later, his company Backyard Brains is coming up with new science education products — like the MicroManipulator, which allows you to place electrodes on tiny things. These products are affordable enough to allow students of all ages to learn about and experiment with electrophysiology, an experience previously only accessible in professional labs.

Here at TED2013, he demonstrates the BYB SmartScope – affectionately known as the RoachScope. This sturdy, portable microscope, currently in beta, uses smartphones to view, snap and share magnified objects over Facebook, Twitter and email, and costs $80 – putting cutting-edge experimentation into the hands of students, teachers and the just plain curious.