Archive for the ‘genomera’ Tag

Announcing a Genomera Sleep Study – Orange You Sleepy?

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Michael Nagle and Eri Gentry are bringing you the first group sleep study at Genomera, looking at the effect of blue-light blocking (aka “orange” or “amber-tinted”) glasses on sleep!

Blue light and sleep

We were inspired by a talk at the Quantified Self Boston meetup – “The Science of Sleep” – in which Sanjiv Shah immensely improved his sleep by wearing blue-light blocking glasses several hours before his bedtime. Using the Zeo, a small EEG headband worn during sleep, he was able to show that his average time to fall asleep without the glasses was 28 minutes, while his average time to sleep using the glasses was 4 minutes. What’s more, his deep sleep increased from about 60 minutes to 85 minutes with the glasses!

Research suggests that these glasses improve sleep by advancing circadian rhythm. Humans don’t produce melatonin, a hormone related to sleep, until darkness sets in. In this modern age, a host of electronics replace darkness with stimulating lights and images, delaying the onset of melatonin production. These glasses may function to improve sleep – as well as mood – by blocking blue light, which tells our bodies to begin producing melatonin, allowing for a more natural bedtime, even with continued nighttime electronics usage.

A group sleep study using the Zeo

“Orange you sleepy?” is an open group study during which participants will track their sleep using the Zeo for three weeks. 

  • During Week 1, participants will track sleep – with no other interventions. 
  • During Week 2, they will wear blue-light blocking glasses and continue to track sleep.
  • During Week 3, participants will track sleep with no interventions.

Interested in joining? Go here to sign up for the study and here to check out the study.

Where to get blue-light blocking or “orange” glasses

These can cost from $5 to more than $100. See google shopping results for a general, confusing overview. What to look for: (1) that the glasses do, indeed, block blue light. Look for the terms “blue blocker” or the name brand “BluBlocker” and (2) glasses that block as much light as possible — that is, glasses with maximum eye coverage and as little gap as possible in between your skin, like these $4 wraparound glasses available on eBay or these $40 StarShield glasses on Amazon. 

Where to get a Zeo

Check out Zeo here and click through to product page to buy.


Citizen Science goes Open Source at O’Reilly’s OSCON (and I’ll be there to talk about it!)

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Update: link to my talk:

Citizen Science is making a big splash at this years Open Source Conference (OSCON)! And how! For the first time in its 13 year history, Citizen Science will be one of OSCON’s primary tracks!

What does that mean for us biohackers and garage scientists? For starters, it signals that we no longer have to lay low, trying to do work on the sly without alerting the township. Turns out that, when we wander out of our garages, the cool hunters think, well… that what we’re doing is cool, not that we’re out to genetically modify their faces off.

We’ve been recognized as so cool, in fact, that, this summer, we’ll be joining the software and tech l33t to speak out about participatory healthcare, crowdscourced science, and garage-to-bedside bio.

Our arrival at OSCON signifies the rise and the legitimization of citizen science as well as the inherently collaborative nature of the growing synthetic biology and genomic fields. We need biologists, chemists, programmers, entrepreneurs and more! My hope is that geeks in all fields will get jazzed about science and begin thinking about how they can contribute to these bodies of work. Perhaps a few will join us at BioCurious.


Take a look at the 2010 list of “Who Should Attend,” below. It’s blatantly lacking life science. But! No longer! Genomera‘s Raymond McCauley and Greg Biggers will take the stage the morning of July 28, 2011 to talk about DIY Clinical Trials (“or How to Guinea Pig Your Way to Scientific Truth). Our colleague Melanie Swan at DIYgenomics will present later in the day on Open Source Medicine & Genomics.  And, in a move that knocked my socks off, Edd Dumbill, as in the Edd Dumbill that co-chairs the thing, invited me to keynote for the Citizen Science track. (I said yes! and:) I’m still blushing.

Thanks kindly to Edd, co-chair Sarah Novotny and Tim O’Reilly for elevating citizen science!

See OSCON keynotes here. I’ll be speaking at 10.40a on July 28th. You won’t see much info on the page yet, as I haven’t done my presentation! Have some ideas on what should make the cut?  Please add your thoughts below!

  • Developers and programmers
  • Engineers
  • Designers
  • Sys admins
  • [BIO]Hackers and geeks[Ya ya!]
  • Enterprise developers and managers
  • IT managers and CxOs
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Activists
  • Trainers and educators