Dienstag, 12. September 2017

Laptop Fiasco and Bucaramanga

Moving on to Ecuador my worst case scenario happened as my laptop broke down. I had to skip the planned NeuroTour stop Quito and travelled to Bogota where I unsuccessfully tried to get my laptop repaired. In Colombia a chain of lucky coincidences brought me to William Omar Contreras Lopez (Young Neurosurgeon of the year 2015). He invited me to Bucaramanga where I could present my NeuroTour at the Simposio Regional de Neurociencia that was held on the development of new technologies in Neuroscience. Thanks for the invitation, which made it possible to share my experiences with young motivated scientists (click here or here for video) and might be the start of future collaborations using the BYB equipment as Brain-Computer and/or Human-Machine Interfaces.

Siguiendo en la Panamericana hacia Ecuador lo peor de los casos imaginables pasó y se me rompió mi laptop. Tenía que saltar Quito como NeuroTour parada y viajé a Bogotá dónde infructuosamente intenté encontrar a alguien que puede repararlo. En Colombia una cadena de casualidades afortunadas me llevó a William Omar Contreras Lopez (Neurocirujano jóven del año 2015). Él me invitó a Bucaramanga a presentar mi NeuroTour en el Simposio Regional de Neurociencia. Gracias por la hospitalidad y la invitación que me permitió compartir mis experiencias con estudiantes motivados (haz click aquí o aquí) y podría ser el comienzo de cooperaciones del futuro usando los equipos de BYB de Interfaz Cerebro Máquina y/o de Interfaz Humano Máquina.
After nearly 15,000km travelling in South America and more than 20 NeuroTour activities I decided to slowly plan the route to Europe. I will return to Lima for two weeks and then visit Machu Picchu with my mom. After that I will try to ship 'Brunhilde' down the Amazon and across the Atlantic Ocean. I am happy for any advice or help. Luckily my BYB equipment is still working, so don't worry, this is not the end of the NeuroTour. Love and Kisses. ÉT

Después de casi 15,000km paseando por América Sur y más que 20 NeuroTour actividades decidí planear lentamente mi regreso a Europa. Vuelvo a Lima para dos semanas y después voy a viajar a Machu Picchu con mi mamá. Finalmente quiero embarcar mi kombi ´Brunhilde´y llevarla hasta Alemania en el Amazonas y Atlántico. Agradezco cada ayuda o consejos para este proyecto. Fortunadamente mi equipo todavía funciona, así no se preocupen, eso no es el fin the la NeuroTour.
Amor y besos. ÉT

Chiclayo - the city of friendship

My next stop was the city of friendship, Chiclayo, where I visited my friend Marlon Suarez with whom I studied Biology in Munich. With his help I was able to share my NeuroTour at the Universidad Nacional Pedro Ruiz Gallo (hosted by Prof. Pedro Chimoy) and the Universidad de Cajamarca. Once again, I was welcomed with open arms and experienced where Chiclayo got its nickname from. Sharing with the Peruvian costeños, I learned a lot about their culture, traditions and dances. Thanks a lot for everything.  

La próxima parada fue chiclayo, la ciudad de la amistad, dónde visité mi amigo Marlon Suarez con quien estudié Biologia en Munich. Con su ayuda pude compartir mi NeuroTour en la Universidad Nacional Pedro Ruiz Gallo (invitado por Prof. Pedro Chimoy) y en la Universidad de Cajamarca. Como siempre, me cuidaron mucho y experiencé de dónde Chiclayo recibió su apodo. Compartiendo con los costeños peruanos he aprendido mucho sobre su cultura, tradiciones y bailes. Gracias por todo.
Spending the days in the Peruvian far North I once again realized how advantageous it would be for remote areas to have access to low-cost experimental science devices. Not only for educational purposes but also their potential use for hospitals and doctors in the countryside.

Pasando los días en el parte más norte de Perú reconocí las ventajas posibles de poblaciones rurales tener acceso a aparatos científicos de bajo costo. No sólo para mejorar la educación pero también para su uso en hospitales de regiones alejadas.

Lima y el Paradero

In Lima I was invited by David Chaupis to give a workshop in Henri Chispe’s cultural center ‘El Paradero’. At the same time this was the inauguration of the El Paradero laboratory, an open access space that enables scientists to give classes, presentations, and workshops. With the open laboratory 'El Paradero' gives scientists a platform to share their passion the same way as musicians can give concerts or artists can hold exhibitions. This mixture professions leads to an extremely creative atmosphere which makes it possible to see the world from different perspectives.  
After a short introduction about action potentials, neuroprosthetics, brain waves and how the BYB equipment works, the participants could take their time to discover by their own the broad application spectrum of the DIY experimental devices. I would like to thank the whole ‘El Paradero’ team for their hospitality. Giving me insights to the Limean life and their function as a cultural center was very inspiring and we'll see each other again.

David Chaupis me invitó a Lima para dar un taller en el centro cultural ‘El Paradero’ de Henri Chispe’s. Al mismo tiempo eso fue la inauguración del Paradero Lab, un espacio libre que da la posibilidad a científicos compartir su pasión en la misma manera como artistas dan exposiciones o músicos conciertos. Esa mezcla de profesiones da una atmosféra muy creativa que lo hace possible obtener perspectivas diferentes a la vida.
Después de una introducción corta sobre potenciales de acción, neuroprótesis, ondas cerebrales y cómo funciona el equipo de BYB, los participantes experimentaron con los aparatos económicos y descubrieron independientemente varias posibilidades cómo usarlos. Quiero agradecer todo el equipo de ´El Paradero´ por su hospitalidad. Ustedes me ensñaron la vida limeña y la función/necesidad de un centro cultural.

Chile and a heartbraking separation

Hello my friends, hola amigos,
After Patagonia I visited Tim in Chile to check out the BYB spin-off in Santiago and to give a tag-team presentation at la Universidad de Americas. After preparing Brunhilde for a long ride we took off in direction North. It started pretty relaxing spending days crossing the Atacama desert where the BYB equipment served as great entertainment for the hitchhikers on the road.

Después de Patagonia visité a Tim en Chile para conocer la filial de BYB en Santiago y para dar una presentación como tag team en la Universidad de Americas. Preparé ´Brunhilde´ para un viaje largo con dirección: Norte. Empezó bien tranqui paseando por días en el desierto Atacama dónde el equipo sirvó cómo entretenemiento en la ruta.

Things started getting problematic when I arrived at the Peruvian border. I got the bad news that my vehicle wasn’t registered while leaving the country in 2013. After several days at customer services at different borders I was told that the police is allowed to take away 'Brunhilde' when entering Peru. Consequently I had either to leave behind my beloved Kombi or to turn around to the South. Having already planned my visits in Lima and Chiclayo, I decided to park my car in the Peruvian jungle and to return to the backpacker life.

Los problemas empezaron en la frontera con Perú. Las malas noticias que el veículo no fue registrado en 2013 saliendo el país. Aunque he pasado varias dias en aduanas de fronteras diferentes no pude conseguir todos los papeles necesarios para andar en calles peruanas. Hay un pendiente al veículo y la policía podría quitarmela. Así tenía que decidir entre despedirme de mi esposa ´Brunhilde´ o volver al Sur. Con los eventos ya planeados en Lima y Chiclayo me fue clandestinamente a la selva peruana y dejé la Kombi en Puerto Maldonado para volver a la vida de mochilero.

Freitag, 12. Mai 2017

Conferencia III El Bolsón

For the last stop of our Patagonian Conference Tour we stopped in El Bolsón. Alumine from Lumina Espacio Holistico let us use her exceptionally beautiful center. The Cordillera mountain view with the spiritual minded participants led to a calm and cosy atmosphere. Especially the EEG with the incorporated alpha-wave amplitude to sound conversion caught their attention for its possible use in meditation. In fact, this EEG feature is very similar to types of biofeedback therapy which is already used to help patients with depression or schizophrenia.  Finally, I have to thank all the people that helped me making this little conference tour possible and successful. The Patagonian mentality and altruism was a great inspiration.  We will now try to pass the Chilean border to find our way to Santiago. 

La ultima estación de nuestra vuelta de conferencias fue en El Bolson. Alumine de Lumina Espacio Holistico nos dejo usar su centro halucinante. La vista de la Cordillera con los participantes espirituales resultó en una atmósfera quieto y pacifico. Especialmente el experimento del EEG con la transformación de la amplituda de la onda alpha a un sonido les fascinó mucho con el uso posible en la meditación. En realidad, esa potencia del experimento EEG es muy similar a tipos de la terapia de la bio-realimentación q ya es usada en pacientes de depresión y schizophrenia. Finalmente, kiero agradecer toda la gente con cual compartió esa experiencia especial y q me ayudaron q fue un éxito tan grande. La Patagonia con su mentalidad y altruismo va a ser una gran inspiración para mi futuro. Ahora intentamos pasar la frontera chilena para llegar hasta Santiago.

Conferencia II Esquel

Just a couple of days after the 'Conferencia I' in Trelew we moved on to Esquel. Thanks to Andres we were able to quickly organize another conference. Again, all participants enjoyed the reunion and were amazed by the power and necessity of our intention while the Human-Human-Interface experiment.   

Sólo unos dias después de la primera conferencia en Trelew seguimos nuestro viaje a Esquel. Gracias a Andres pudimos organizar otra conferencia rápidamente. De nuevo, todos los participantes disfrutaron esa reunión y fueron sorprendidos de la fuerza y la necesidad de la intención durante el experimento del Human-Human-Interface.

Conferencia I Trelew

Howdy Gauchos!

With this and the following posts I'd like to share with you my Patagonian experiences. After a problematic start with 'Brunhilde' we encountered Mirta Anton in Trelew while she was vending used clothes on her Backyard charity market (in this case she was collecting for the people of the heavy rain areas). At the same time she is organizing events and working with people of the local TV channel. With this wonderful encounter we started a series of 'Conferencias' and will be part of their TV show 'Nueva Mirada'. With a two week preparation time we were able to spread the word in and around Trelew resulting in an incredible attendance of 90 people in the Salon Azul of the local newspaper El Chubut. The same newspaper also announced and summarized this event (click here). The resonance and participation revealed the great interest of Argentines in Neuroscience. However, like in nearly every country, it is not incorporated as a subject in their school education. After the 'Conference' we met Andres which made it possible to have already our next station: Esquel.

Con este articulo quiero compartir mis experiencias de los ultimas semanas en Patagonia con ustedes. Después de un comienzo problemático con nuestra Kombi 'Brunhilde' encontramos Mirta Anton en Trelew en su feria en su patio de ropa usada (en ese caso para la gente q sufrió de las lluvias). También organiza eventos y trabaja con el Canal 12 de Chubut. Con ese encuentro maravilloso empezamos una serie de conferencias y también vamos a aparecer en su serie 'Nueva Mirada' en Julio. Con dos semanas de preparación pudimos hacer bastante publicidad en Trelew y su alrededor q resultó en la presencia de 90 personas en el Salon Azul del Diario Chubut. Ellos tambien publicaron dos articulos sobre nuestro evento: 'Neurociencia para todos' (click here). La participacion y resonancia demuestra el gran interés de las Neurociencias en Argentina en general. Pero, como en casi todos los paises, no está incorporado en los cursos de la escuela. Después de la conferencia encontramos a Andres que hizo la propuesta q puede organizar la próxima conferencia. Así ya tuvimos nuestra próxima estación: Esquel.

Freitag, 21. April 2017

Caleta Valdes y Trelew, Chubut

Hoooola everyone!

After nearly 2000km in 2 weeks we arrived in Chubut, Argentina. Enjoying the picturesque Peninsula Valdes Brunhilde lost one of his wheels and got stuck in the middle of nowhere. Adopted by the Parkrangers, we spent nearly 2 weeks on the Peninsula because the roads were closed due to heavy rains in Argentina. With the Rangers' help we could 'heal' Brunhilde and moved on to Trelew. As always, I spread the word of Neuroscience and met Mirta Anton who is now arranging a Conference in Trelew the 28th of April. Looking forward to giving my first official presentation in Spanish.

Después de casi 2000km en 2 semanas, llegamos en Chubut, Argentina. Disfrutando el paisaje halucinante de la Península Valdes la Brunhilde perdió una de sus ruedas y estabamos perdidos en el medio the nada. Adoptados de los Guardafaunas pasabamos casi 2 semanas en la Península por las rutas que fueron cerradas por lluvias graves. Con la ayuda de las Guardafaunas 'curamos' a la Brunhilde y seguimos en nuestro viaje a Trelew. Como siempre propagé las Neurosciencias y asi encontramos a Mirta Anton. Ella está organizando ahora una conferencia en Trelew el 28 de abril. Me alegro mucho de dar mi primera presentación oficial en Español. 

Caleta Valdes

Samstag, 25. März 2017

Montevideo - La Segunda

Hoooola everyone. Back in Montevideo we had to split up the team for a while as the buying process of 'Brunhilde' took a bit longer than expected. But luckily, the waiting time coincided with the beginning of the Brain Week in MV (click here). In a flew market like atmosphere, kids could visit stands to learn sth about Neuroscience. With the help of Sofia Letaief and Alejandra Mondino the BYB NeuroTour stand attracted a lot of people fascinated by the Human-Human-Interface.

Additionally, I visited the Hospital de Clinicas where I teamed up with doctors to record uterine contractions in an noninvasive manner using the BYB muscle spikerbox. In the same floor this was done for the first time over 60 years ago by Roberto Caldeyro Barcia which added a historical background to this incredible experience. This might be the beginning of a collaboration with Prof. Jose Diaz who explained to me the possible usage BYB equipment in Perinatology.
After 7 wonderful weeks in MVideo, I managed to prepare 'Brunhilde' for the adventure Patagonia.

Uterine Contractions!!!!


Buenos Aires

Waiting for our ride 'Brunhilde' to get prepared for the long trip to Patagonia, we had some time to visit the beautiful and gigantic city of Buenos Aires. There, we demonstrated how the handy BYB equipment could improve student courses at the University of Buenos Aires and the St. Andrew's Scots School. Many thanks to Daniel Tomsic and Patricia Benmergui for the invitations. During the stay in BA, the article about the NeuroTour appeared in the brazilian magazin piaui (click here). Bernardo Estevez describes the NeuroTour using a really smart and appealing writing style. Unfortunately, the article is only in Portuguese but Google translate does a pretty good job to get the content.  

Freitag, 17. Februar 2017

Magic Montevideo

After a 20h bus ride from Floripa, we arrived in Montevideo. From day one we felt like being at home due to the open and incredibly helpful mindset of the Uruguayos. Patricia Lagos invited us to give a talk at the Universidad Republica de Uruguay in the Facultad de Medicina. Until now, this was by far the funniest and most interactive presentation on the NeuroTour. To be able to continue with the experiments we even had to whistle in order to get the audience out of their scientific discussions about the alpha-waves of their boss.

But it got even better: We finished the presentation with the words 'And we would like to move on now in a VW Kombi, so maybe anyone knows someone who wants to sell his/her bus' followed by a huge laughter. And while I was discussing with Felipe Sierra about the Neuroscience Week in Montevideo, a student gave Geo the contact of his friend who wants to sell a Kombi. With the priceless help of our hosts and their entire family we are now close to continue the NeuroTour to Patagonia in our own vehicle! I hope we could give something back with our 'Action Potentials Served for Dessert'. There, we were performing the experiments with our new friends and also checked how the BYB blink detector could be used as part of a music band :-)


After Sao Paulo, we spend some days at the beautiful beaches in Florianópolis. Of course we didn't just get tanned lazily in the sun but also visited the University of Santa Catarina. Again, thanks to Olavo Amaral we got in contact with Cilene Lino de Oliveira from the Departamento de Ciências Fisiológicas. A long science session (additional fotos here) was followed by lunch with very interesting insights to the brasilian science situation and how it will be essential for the future to focus on low-budget experimental devices to improve teaching while maintaining or lowering the costs. However, due to their inventive and cheerful nature, I'm sure that they will find a way to cope with their problems. Luckily, Cilene was doing her PhD in the same lab as her friend Patricia Lagos, professor at the Universidad de la República de Uruguay.