Tale of BioAmp

How it all started and how it's going now...

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A TED talk from Greg Gage (Neuroscientist & Co-Founder of Backyard Brains) inspired me to start working on BioAmp hardware in 2016 when I was in my first year of under graduation. Initially, I started off with replicating Backyard Brains DIY Muscle Spiker Shield hardware on a piece of perf board but failed miserably. It was very expensive for me at that time and I had no chance to spend more on fixing the hardware or to buy new chips if any case that was the fault. I learned a lot from failure and started my long journey to research about BioPhysiology sensor technology. I finally managed to build my own EMG sensor in 2017 at fraction of the price with discrete jelly bean parts (op-amps, resistors and capacitors) and I have been working on refining the BioAmp hardware design since then. BioAmp led to the birth of Upside Down Labs in 2018 and we are revolutionizing DIY Neuroscience sector with fully OpenSource sensors designed and manufactured in India for the entire world!

  • Now! (2023)

    Deepak Khatri04/25/2023 at 12:24 0 comments

    We have almost completed out EMG sensor catalogue and we are starting to work on ECG and EOG sensors now.

  • Muscle BioAmp Sensors (2022)

    Deepak Khatri04/25/2023 at 11:08 0 comments

    In 2022, we focused mainly on designing EMG sensor technology. In the process, we designed the world's most affordable EMG sensor - Muscle BioAmp BisCute

    For tinkerers, who wanted an SMD version of Muscle BioAmp BisCute, we designed Muscle BioAmp Candy, a candy-size EMG sensor for precise EMG sensing.

    Muscle BioAmp Shield v0.3 is an all-in-one Arduino Uno Shield for EMG (Electromyography). It is perfect for beginners as they can easily stack it on top of Arduino Uno to record, visualize and listen to the muscle signals to make amazing Human-Computer Interface (HCI) projects. It also comes with various plug-and-play options so you can connect hundreds of devices like OLED screens, character displays, accelerometers, and servo controllers to name just a few using the I2C interface.

    Muscle BioAmp Patchy is a small wearable muscle sensor for precise EMG sensing. The sensor can be snapped directly to the electrodes, eliminating electrode cables.

    All these sensors or as we call them DIY Neuroscience Kits are being sold worldwide at multiple websites right now.

    1. Shipping Worldwide:

    2. Shipping in India

  • BioAmp EXG Pill (2021)

    Deepak Khatri04/25/2023 at 11:07 0 comments

    Dikshant & Bhawna joined Upside Down Labs in early 2021 and the BioAmp EXG Pill design matured to its final form factor during that same time period.

    The PCBs for BioAmp EXG Pill v0.7 were sponsored by Oshpark again (Thanks to Drew Fustini) which were only 2.5cm x 1.0cm.

    We improved a lot as the latest version of BioAmp EXG Pill is 57% smaller in size in comparison to the very first version and has much better signal acquisition capabilities than all the versions before that. The size could have been much smaller but it was a perfect size for students and researchers to use in their HCI/BCI projects and experiments.

    After some time, we decided to work on the next version and launch it as a crowdfunding campaign on CrowdSupply. This time PCBway came to the rescue and they helped us by sponsoring the PCBs for the campaign.

    The campaign’s success and BioAmp EXG Pill being announced as the ten winners of the Hackaday Prize supportive Tech Challenge motivated us to start working on more and more open-source hardware. 

    Till now we have raised around $17,000+ and shipped the kit to 30+ countries around the world.

  • BioAmp EMG Pill

    Deepak Khatri04/25/2023 at 10:58 0 comments

    While I was improving and researching, I got to know about 2 OpAmp design which requires only 2 pairs of matched resistors and 2 operational amplifiers.

    I used this to create the very first BioAmp EMG Pill at home and it was able to record my muscle signals accurately. Out of curiosity, I tried recording other biopotential signals as well like ECG, EOG, and EEG by configuring the bandpass filters and instrumentation amplifiers and it worked out pretty well. 

    Again for this design, the BOM cost was less than ₹100 ($1.25) which will revolutionize the way students and researchers explore the field of neuroscience by making various HCI and BCI projects.

    After dozens of prototypes and countless experiments, what started as a project for recording just the muscle signals (EMG) became a BioAmp EXG Pill that was capable of recording all the biopotential signals (ECG, EMG, EOG, EEG). All these designs were prototyped at home with a toner transfer method.

  • The serious beginnings! (2020)

    Deepak Khatri04/25/2023 at 10:56 0 comments

    Two years later in 2020, I was accepted into Google Summer of Code, and during that time 2 people from the USA bought the kits. I was on cloud nine but the kits were crappy and the PCBs were designed at home so I knew I had to improve. With the feedback I got from these 2 customers, I started working on the next version of BioAmp which was BioAmp v1.5

    During my internship at GSoC, I met Jason (Founder of BeagleBoard) and Drew (Founder of OshPark) who helped me a lot during my initial days. Drew fully sponsored the first batch of BioAmp v1.5 and within a week it was a hit on Tindie.

    BioAmp v1.5 is a single-chip biopotential amplifier. It can record any biopotential signal non-invasively and doesn't require any microcontroller to sample the signal. You just plug a 9v Battery to board, Electrodes to the body, and an Audio jack to a Mobile/Laptop and you are ready to record signals like EMG, ECG, EOG, and EEG. You can record the signals on a pc using Audacity OR on mobile using Backyard Brain's spike recorder app. It's for learning purposes only and works best for EMG signals.

  • BioAmp v1 (2019)

    Deepak Khatri04/25/2023 at 10:54 0 comments

    After learning a lot about the design and fabrication of PCBs, I designed, fabricated, and assembled BioAmp v1 at Upside Down Labs.

    It was an open hardware board that can amplify biological signals and can be used for sampling bio-potential signals like EEG, ECG, EKG, and EMG. You can use the included recorder cable for recording the signal on a pc using Audacity or on mobile using Backyard Brain's spike recorder app. The other cable with male headers, which I will call the Tinker cable, you can use for connecting the board's output to a breadboard for amplification and filtering, or you can connect it directly to Arduino.

    I finally published it on the Tindie store though the PCBs were crappy and designed at home. I knew there is a lot of room for improvement but this was the best I could have done with the limited resources available at home.

  • Upside Down Labs (2018)

    Deepak Khatri04/25/2023 at 10:52 0 comments

    In 2018, I started my Tindie store and named it Upside Down Labs because my lab was always Upside Down. At the same time, stranger things (A web series on Netflix) was released that had a reference to Upside Down so the name strike me and that’s how Upside Down Labs started.

  • BioAmp init (2017)

    Deepak Khatri04/25/2023 at 10:51 0 comments

    After the first failure, I learned how to design my own instrumentation amplifier from the internet and got to know that you just need 3 operational amplifiers and 3 pairs of closely matched resistors to make it work. 

    At first, I designed it on a breadboard.

    As everything was working perfectly, so I tried the circuit on a perf board as well.

    This time it actually worked. It was the first time I recorded my muscle signals (EMG).

    After some time, I got access to PCB fabrication at a lab in my college (NSIT, Delhi) and created my very first PCB. When I started creating the BioAmp design, the BOM cost was around ₹2000 ($25) but I ended up designing the hardware for less than ₹100 ($1.25) including everything. This had all the features of a muscle spiker box by backyard brains. I was able to record my muscle signals (EMG) and was able to listen to them using earphones.

    For recording the signals, I created my own dry electrodes, versions of which are still being used at Upside Down Labs.

    In the same year, I also got an opportunity to present this hardware at a conference for low-cost bionic and neurological sensor design. 

  • The failed attempt (2016)

    Deepak Khatri04/25/2023 at 10:48 0 comments

    In 2016, when I was 18 years old and still in dilemma about what the future holds for me, I stumbled upon a ted talk by Greg Gage (Founder of Backyard Brains) where he demonstrated the human-to-human interface.

    I was blown away by this amazing experiment but didn’t have money to buy the kit so I researched more about it. The schematic of their biopotential amplifier was open source so I created a BOM file and started searching to procure parts from Chandi Chowk, Delhi. It took a lot of time and an entire month’s pocket money to get all the parts.

    Finally, I assembled everything on a perf board as you can see in the images below.

    I was very excited and hopeful but unfortunately, it didn't work out!! 

    I still don’t know if the wiring was faulty or the components but one thing is for sure, I didn't give up.

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