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July 01, 2012 (Vol. 32, No. 13)

Brain Lab

  • Nice simulation tools, Hodgkin-Huxley demonstration
  • Other features very limited
Platform: iPad, iPhone  
Cost: $0.99

While the repeated use of the terms “brain science” and “brain cell” (as opposed to “neuroscience” and “neuron”) throughout the app is a bit grating, I believe that any budding neuroscientist will enjoy what Brain Lab has to offer. The Brain Lab app is not so much an entire lab as it is an interactive simulation tool to introduce two models of neuron firing: the passive integrate and fire model and the Hodgkin-Huxley model. These two staples of any introductory neurophysiology course are presented here in a fun way that has users draw out current traces with their fingers onto the screen and then see the effect of those input currents on a neuron’s membrane potential. Beyond this use, the app is fairly limited; however, there are a lot of great ways in which it might be expanded. (One might say that it has a lot of “potential.”)

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