So awesome @AWC that you're pursuing this!! All I can say is.. don't give up I am part of a community of hackers myself (the good kind - the ones who hack technology!), and it's amazing how much hobbyists and technerds can do in just a few hours with things they already have access to, compared to "professional" scientists who are struggling for years to find the right equipment (or find time to build it, or find inspiration to think outside the box) to do the experiments they want.
One time during Science Hack Day Vilnius hackathon (that I organized, together with my friends at our hackerspace), a group of school kids mentored by one out-of-the-box-thinking scientist and one crafty engineer built a device that measures plant electric signals (very similar those in our nervous system) in just a few hours! When the engineers/scientists at the university couldn't do that for years.
But the biggest problem here, I think, is getting through to them. Similarly as it is with citizen science - "professional" scientists just assume "simple" people can't come up with things like that, or that everything they build / generate / do is good enough for "hobby" purposes but not science. That is simply not true, and is due to the lack of knowledge, as you say. But that narrow mindedness is slowly going away I think! With examples from citizen science, hacker communities especially.
Another problem is that scientists are notorious for slow replies!!!! So you might still hear back from them!
Overall, I think you should not give up until someone responds !!