Research, development, data, and STEM with a focus on business and teaching.

Accurate measurement with a micro:bit

Accurate measurement is critical to our everyday lives, and yet it is often taken for granted. When I buy petrol, I am assuming that the petrol pump is accurately measuring the petrol going into my car. This means that I pay the correct amount of money. Buying food is similar. If I buy 2 kg of...

How do we measure the senses?

We’ve all rated our pain at the doctor’s office, read an eye chart for a licence test, or told a friend the truth about their cooking. Despite the commonly held view that we have just five senses, we actually have many more, and we depend upon their accuracy and...

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Proprioception: Sensing position and movement

In November I wrote about the senses, in particular the ones beyond the usual 5. This post focusses on the group of senses that tells us the position and movements of our body, called proprioception (pro-PREE-o-SEP-SHUN). Proprioception is not a new discovery. The term proprio-ceptive has been used by physiologists since the early 1900s, and the idea that the brain senses the body’s movements has been around even longer. So what exactly is proprioception for?

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Measuring how the brain controls breathing

Neural control of breathing The muscles that make us breathe need to work or ‘contract’ both when we are awake and asleep to bring oxygen into the lungs (and remove carbon dioxide) to keep us alive. This contraction of our breathing or ‘respiratory’ muscles occurs...

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Using python to program micro:bit

One of the things Platypus Technical does is develop tools for learning and teaching STEM.  This month I have been looking at the BBC micro:bit through the Advent Kit from Little Bird Electronics.  As part of that I have been uploading example python code to...

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How many senses do we have?

Most people reply that we have five senses vision, smell, taste, hearing and touch. Why stop there? How come most people don’t list any others? When I have worked in schools with students in year 1 or 2, they can think of many more. Young children have told me things...

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Tools: Installing Bodhi Linux on a Yoga 910

Measuring people requires good tools, including a computer.  I don't like having to update my research computer, but recently went through this and settled on a Yoga 910.  For data analysis and experimental control I have always preferred a Unix operating system. ...

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Proving it: Validation

Validation is a vital concept when it comes to proving what things do.  It is a term commonly used by engineers, scientist, physicians and other people working in evidence based professions.  I usually need to explain how I have validated a new method or tool to my...

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Good measurements are critical

I can call myself a lot of different things.  For example, currently I am an engineer, a neurophysiologist, a public servant, an investigator, and exercise scientist, etc.  However, if I try to collect all my roles together and look for a common theme, I find that I...

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