NeuroTechBOS: CrowdSourcing and OpenScience

Melanie SegadoEvents, NewsLeave a Comment

My mental marker for the success of an event is whether or not I leave it motivated to learn more. For a good event, the feeling lasts for one or two days before I’ve returned to baseline. One week after the NeuroTechBOS CrowdSourcing and OpenScience event, I’m still going over conversations in my head and finding new things to be excited about.

UltraCortex Assembly Session at EyeWire HQ, WeWork South Station

UltraCortex Assembly Session at EyeWire HQ, WeWork South Station

The chain of events leading up to this event were set in motion last September when the NeuroTechMTL team was in Cambridge, Massachusetts for the kickoff of NeuroTechBOS. After fascinating coffee shop conversations with Amy Robinson (Executive Director at EyeWire) and Dan Goodwin (Graduate Student in Ed Boyden’s Synthetic Neurobiology Group), and many brainstorming sessions with Conor Russomanno (Co-Founder, CEO at OpenBCI), we began to plan an event and panel discussion dedicated to CrowdSourcing and OpenScience.

Crowdsourcing and Open Science have come recently come to the forefront of discussions about scientific research, in large part due to the success of organizations like EyeWire and OpenBCI. It is increasingly evident that, in order to extend our current understanding of the brain, we need more people and more resources than the traditional academic model can accommodate. This is well summarized in Dan Goodwin’s Scientific American article Why Neuroscience Needs Hackers.

Particularly in a field like neuroscience, helpers could be invaluable in exploring the daunting wilderness of newly revealed neural networks. ~ Dan Goodwin, Why Neuroscience Needs Hackers, Scientific American

Helping to build the future of Open Science by assembling OpenBCI UltraCortex headsets in the EyeWire Office

Helping to build the future of Open Science by assembling OpenBCI UltraCortex headsets in the EyeWire Office

During the panel discussion, which featured Conor Russomanno, Amy Robinson, Dan Goodwin, and NeuroTechX Executive Director Yannick Roy, we had the opportunity to elaborate on the scientific significance, the practical implications, and the social impact, of open sourcing science. Overall the conclusion was overwhelmingly positive. Neuroscience is a new frontier, and everyone stands to benefit from pushing it forward. Moreover, it’s a field that needs people from all domains in order to be successeful: Artists, Scientists, Engineers, Teachers, Bio-Ethicists … the list goes on.

There’s this one unifying thing about the brain – that it makes us all human. Everybody has one and, I think, everyone has at least some tiny inkling of curiosity about how it works. ~Amy Robinson, Executive Director at EyeWire, NeuroTechBOS:CrowdSourcing and Open Science Panel Discussion.

Amy holding up some of EyeWire's fantastic "For Science" brain stickers

Amy holding up some of EyeWire’s fantastic “For Science” brain stickers

Sad you missed it? All of the presentations from the event, including the full panel discussion, are available for you to watch on youtube. A full photo gallery of the event is also available on the NeuroTechX facebook page.

Thank you so much to WeWork South Station for hosting NeuroTechX for the event, and to the volunteers who made this event happen. To be informed about future NeuroTechX events in your city or worldwide, find us on facebook, twitter, meetup or subscribe to our newsletter

About the Author
Melanie Segado

Melanie Segado