29 Oct 2020

Maker-a-Day: Wednesday with Jellylab (UCD)

Maker-a-Day Wed with JellyLab

Joining us on our third Maker-a-Day during Science Week is Mark Pickering and his team from Jellylab (University of Dublin) on How do sea creatures react to light? How to build a simple experiment to explore the world around you.

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13:00 – 14:00

Jellylab (University College Dublin): How do sea creatures react to light? How to build a simple experiment to explore the world around you.

We believe that anyone can be a scientist, and we want to democratise discovery by taking experimental tools out of the laboratory and into the hands of anyone curious about the world around them.

This project will show how to use simple and easily available components to build an experiment to answer a scientific question: if tiny sea creatures have eyes, what do they do when they see light? For this we’ll use brine shrimp (also called Artemia), which are sold as “sea monkeys” and “aqua dragons”, as well as some tiny plankton we collect in the sea, but you could also adapt this to investigate bugs from your garden (how do ants or spiders respond to light?). The experiment can be run using an Arduino controlled neopixel RGB LED ring. We’ve been using this as a demonstration for some time now, and documented the experiment here:

Now, we want to show how you can make everything you need to do this type of experiment yourself. We’ll show you how to set up the lights with an arduino, and how to control the light pattern with a game controller (specifically the nunchuck controller from a nintendo Wii).

In addition to showing how to make the light experiment, we’ll also show how to build a system to hatch your own brine shrimp, and how to collect tiny plankton from the sea that can be used in this experiment. FInally, because some of these creatures are really tiny, we’ll also show how to make really simple, cheap “microscopes” to make the invisible visible!

The contents of our proposed video are all things we have lots of experience with, so we have confidence that it can all be covered in a 40-45 minute video, and we think we can make it pretty entertaining as well!

What you will need to participate

For the light experiment you’ll need:

To hatch brine shrimp:

  • You’ll need an empty plastic bottle (1.5L or 2L size would be perfect) – make sure to keep the cap!
  • A small air pump and tubing (you can get aquarium air pumps from most pet shops, the smallest size is fine).
  • Brine shrimp (Artemia) eggs. You can also get these from many pet shops.
  • If you want to catch some plankton from the sea, you’ll need a wire coat hanger and a pair of tights (no, seriously).
  • If you want to try simple DIY microscopy, you’ll either need a webcam (Logitech C270) or some transparent silicone.

📍Where to find Jellylab (UCD)

For more info on our other Maker-a-Day events during Science Week, check out http://www.dublinmaker.ie/maker-a-day-at-science-week/ for more details.

1 Comment
  1. […] and Vicky Twomey-Lee. Mark is no stranger to Dublin Maker festival and also was one of our Maker-a-Day during Science Week 2020. We will be talking about how anyone can be a researcher at home and behind the scenes on how […]

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