For just $260, you can buy an electronic device that will give you mind control. The device was developed by neuroscientist and engineer Greg Gage, who founded a company called Backyard Brains with a former classmate to make neuroscience equipment that is cheap, simple, and safe enough to be used in elementary school classrooms.
Gage has demonstrated his company’s equipment in several Ted talks. This March, he showed of an electrophysiology kit that enabled a volunteer from the audience to use her mind to control another volunteer’s arm. The device is made of off the shelf electronics, with a standard 9 volt battery, simple patch electrodes, a few wires, and a computer system that connects to an iPad.
The kit comes with lesson plans and experiments that were designed for school teachers to make neuroscience more accessible to young students. It is a non-invasive way for kids (and adults!) to learn about the electrical impulses of the body’s nervous system. To do the experiment, a first volunteer sticks conductive pads in the right spot on her arm and clamps wires into the electrodes, so the brain’s electrical signals can be picked up by the system. The message then flows through wires that are attached to her partner’s electrodes to stimulate his nerve and make his muscles move at the same time. Although it is marketed for educators, anyone can buy the kit online to begin experimenting and learning about electrophysiology.