FormaLabs are a new “biomaker” space in Cork who describe themselves as aiming to “bring science to the 99%”. I recently attended a really interesting event by Professor Steve Potter, about DIY neuro-hacking, and how the increasing affordability of neuroscience and biomarker technologies will make it possible for non-professional scientists to conduct their own research. He used the interesting analogy of astronomy, where amateur astronomers have made relevant discoveries for years with their home telescopes.
The event included a demonstration of a number of these pieces of equipment, including kit for measuring EEG (albeit with not as many electrode sites as the type one would see in a well-funded lab) as well as heart rate and heart rate variability. Unfortunately, we couldn't get a demo of the most out-there equipment that monitors rapid eye movements in to induce lucid dreams (Prof Potter says he has used this and found it effective-want want want).
It was great to see a wide variety of attendees, from professional researchers to kids, and the audience contributing so many ideas.
As FormaLabs are still being established, they are always looking for labs/groups etc. to help with setting up workspaces where non-professionals can engage in science. Check them out here: