Calming Wave Machine (Sensory Bottle)

- Supplies:
  • Clear plastic bottle
  • Water
  • Blue food coloring
  • Cooking oil (ex. vegetable, sun seed, canola, etc.)
  • Small seashells/stones, glitter, plastic fish/shells, sea themed beads, coarse sand, etc.
  • Super glue or duct tape
  • Alka seltzer (optional)
- Directions
  • Fill 1/3 of the bottle with water, and the rest with oil.
  • Add 1 drop of blue food coloring and the small sea items
  • Since the oil and water do not mix, the oil creates slow waves in the water when you turn it back and forth. 
  • By adding Alka Seltzer tablets, you can create a cool lava lamp effect (click here)
  • The cap can be secured with superglue or duct tape

Other ideas for “calm bottles” can be found here, here and here.  Goes well with deep breathing exercises (here).

a little post of cool stimmy things and where to find them

  • thimbles (anywhere that sells sewing or craft supplies)
  • tangle toys
  • space bracelets ( 1, 2, 3, 4 )
  • how to make rainbow suds
  • how to make/ where to buy glitter jars
  • play dough/ plasticine (any where that sells toys)
  • chew bracelets/ necklaces
  • put some craft glue ( can be found anywhere that sells craft supplies ) on your skin and pick it off throughout the day
  • if you go to a place that sells fabrics, find a fabric you like and ask for a sample, you should be able to get a little bit of that fabric free of charge instead of buying a big chunk of fabric that you don’t need (please don’t abuse this though)
  • a calming playlist

Device enables friends to send smells around the world

Smells are an important part of our sensory makeup and can arouse visceral reactionswhen those aromas are linked to positive memories or feelings. The developers of the Ophone believe that this sense is being neglected by today’s technology, and have created a way for friends to ‘text’ smells to each other, regardless of where they are in the world. READ MORE…


DIY Play Dough/Clay: More sensory substances.

  1. Play Dough (Flour/koolaid)
  2. Glow Dough (Four/florescent kids paint)
  3. Foam Dough (Shaving cream/corn starch)
  4. Silky Soft Play Dough (Hair Conditioner/corn starch)
  5. Edible Peanut Butter Play Dough (Peanut Butter/powdered milk)
  6. Cake Mix Dough (Cake mix) or Cake Play Dough (cake mix/butter)
  7. Modeling Clay (Baking soda/corn starch)
  8. Baking Clay (Flour/salt)
  9. Glitter Play Dough (Flour/glitter)

Click here to view more DIY sensory substances including, slime, gak, cloud dough and moon sand.

Spooks generated by brain-body mismatch (Nature News)

Some people with relatively rare types of brain injury experience a  ‘feeling of a presence’. A study involving a dozen such patients, published today in Current Biology1, suggests that the eerie feeling may arise when a person’s brain fails to integrate properly the different signals it receives from the limbs, such as those generated by touch and information about their position in space. The researchers also reproduced the illusion in healthy volunteers in the lab, with the help of purpose-built robots.

Scientists create sensory neurons from human skin cells in the lab - Could help with spinal cord injuries

By Kristin Baldwin, Ph.D. - 

A team led by scientists from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has found a simple method to convert human skin cells into the specialized neurons that detect pain, itch, touch and other bodily sensations. These neurons are also affected by spinal cord injury and involved in Friedreich’s ataxia, a devastating and currently incurable neurodegenerative disease that largely strikes children.

The discovery allows this broad class of human neurons and their sensory mechanisms to be studied relatively easily in the laboratory. The “induced sensory neurons” generated by this method should also be useful in the testing of potential new therapies for pain, itch and related conditions.

The discovery allows this broad class of human neurons and their sensory mechanisms to be studied relatively easily in the laboratory. The “induced sensory neurons” generated by this method should also be useful in the testing of potential new therapies for pain, itch and related conditions.

“Following on the work of TSRI Professor Ardem Patapoutian, who has identified many of the genes that endow these neurons with selective responses to temperature, pain and pressure, we have found a way to produce induced sensory neurons from humans where these genes can be expressed in their ‘normal’ cellular environment,” said Associate Professor Kristin K. Baldwin, an investigator in TSRI’s Dorris Neuroscience Center. “This method is rapid, robust and scalable. Therefore we hope that these induced sensory neurons will allow our group and others to identify new compounds that block pain and itch and to better understand and treat neurodegenerative disease and spinal cord injury.”

The report by Baldwin’s team appears as an advance online publication in Nature Neuroscience on November 24, 2014.


Ref:  Joel W Blanchard, Kevin T Eade, Attila Szűcs, Valentina Lo Sardo, Rachel K Tsunemoto, Daniel Williams, Pietro Paolo Sanna, Kristin K Baldwin. Selective conversion of fibroblasts into peripheral sensory neurons. Nature Neuroscience, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/nn.3887


DIY Sensory Substances: Here are some links to some super simple sensory tutorials.  Click here for more compilations.


I was clicking through an assortment of concert videos last night and this was one of them. I liked it so much that tonight I thought, what was that one video from last night… 

It’s linked here to a specific moment that I liked the most (1:55). The ending is also extra good. Now let me see if I can concisely describe why I like it so much, hm. 

When you listen to a super polished radio song, it could have really emotional lyrics, but the singer’s voice tends to be clear and smooth. That’s fine, it sounds good. 

But then you get a live version like this, and the sound of her voice matches the emotion in the lyrics. That voice sounds like the voice of someone whose throat is raw from screaming and crying at their partner all night. Something about the congruency between lyrics and sound is particularly satisfying, compared to polished album tracks. 

Little side note - if anyone remembers my list of “Heartthrob Feels”, I listed Messed Up as: Smells sharp like the ammonia strips nurses wave in front of your face to keep you from fainting.

Ammonia burns. Screaming and crying for a long time burns. It burns your throat and it burns your eyes. I like to think that the caustic emotion in the lyrics gets deconstructed and transformed from one experience to another. (I’ve never screamed and cried like that at a partner) I almost feel like… the fact that it made me think of the nurse with the ammonia strip was like a tongue in cheek association. Go, please stay. Faint, don’t faint. I like it. 


Hey sports fans - seen this video doing the rounds of the interpipes?

Deafblind soccer fan Carlos and his friend Hélio have developed a system to help Carlos experience the World Cup, shown here with interpreter Regiane.

This is the first time I’d seen this type of communication in action, so I dug around to find out more about it. In his video description, Hélio references haptic communication as the method being used. This type of communication is also known as tactile signing.

On this Australian Deafblind Information site, haptic communication is described like this:

Social Haptic Communication is broadly defined as the interaction of two or more people in a social context where messages are conveyed using the sense of touch. These messages (or haptices) may contain, but are not limited to information about emotion, facial expression, to map out the environment or a room layout and describing other visual or auditory information such as art or music. 

As another reference point, the Danish Association of the Deafblind has produced an English translation of their handbook 103 Haptic Signals - A Reference Book (PDF).

There are a range of ways that a deafblind person might communicate, adapted depending on factors like whether the individual is congenitally deafblind or they have acquired dual sensory loss, and the extent to which the person’s vision and/or hearing is affected:

  • Speech
  • Lip reading
  • Sign Language, e.g. Auslan
  • Signed English
  • Key Word Sign (formerly known as Makaton)
  • Tactile Signing
  • Tracking
  • Signs used on the body
  • Co-active signing
  • Visual frame signing
  • Deafblind manual alphabet
  • Printing on palm
  • Tadoma
  • Social Haptics
  • Gestures
  • Body language
  • Facial expressions
  • Behaviour/Routines
  • Pictures/photos
  • Object symbols
  • Written (large print writing or typed information)
  • Braille
  • Use of communication devices

Thanks to Hélio and Carlos for posting the video and showing us this great example of haptic communication in action. 

- Georgia