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Science

Computer Game Reveals 'Space-Time' Neurons In the Eye 105

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the eye-like-reflexes dept.
sciencehabit (1205606) writes news that the EyeWire project from MIT has yielded some exciting results. "You open the overstuffed kitchen cabinet and a drinking glass tumbles out. With a ninjalike reflex, you snatch it before it shatters on the floor, as if the movement of the object were being tracked before the information even reached your brain. According to one idea of how the circuitry of the eye processes visual data, that is literally what happens. Now, a deep anatomical study of a mouse retina — carried out by 120,000 members of the public — is bringing scientists a step closer to confirming the hypothesis." The paper (paywalled), and a gallery of screenshots of the game.

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Computer Game Reveals 'Space-Time' Neurons In the Eye

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  • by wbr1 (2538558) on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:15PM (#46923775)
    The retina and optic nerve are very complex and dense. The almost certainly perform some level of preprocessing, and as such are really just an extension of the brain. However to say that you react before -any- info reaches the brain smacks of a physical impossibility as the brain has to receive some sort of data to trigger motor action. Unless the motor nerves are connected directly to the eyeballs.
  • Eyes are Brains (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pubwvj (1045960) on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:20PM (#46923803)

    The eyes are actually part of the brain and have computational and comparative circuits built into them. This has been known for many decades.

  • Zoned? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mfh (56) on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:34PM (#46923879) Journal

    I had a friend and he was one of those friends who would always get me into trouble when I was a kid. He was four years older than me... and this was in grade 9 for me. He was the kind of dude that would just throw something at you and yell your name last second. It got so that I had developed Jedi reflexes around this kid. Something told me exactly what to expect. One day the bastard throws a big knotted wooden log towards my head, and calls it out last second as it's about to hit my face.

    Without any hesitation I caught it!! About 45-55lbs, which isn't that much -- but it's a hell of a lot to catch without warning.

    My point is that there is probably some kind of zone of effect to this type of thing where in a kitchen for example you could expect that a plate or glass might get knocked off the counter so you would be queued up to catch something whenever you enter the kitchen.

  • Re:Zoned? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:54PM (#46924049)

    I had a friend and he was one of those friends who would always get me into trouble when I was a kid. He was four years older than me... and this was in grade 9 for me. He was the kind of dude that would just throw something at you and yell your name last second. It got so that I had developed Jedi reflexes around this kid. Something told me exactly what to expect. One day the bastard throws a big knotted wooden log towards my head, and calls it out last second as it's about to hit my face.

    Without any hesitation I caught it!! About 45-55lbs, which isn't that much -- but it's a hell of a lot to catch without warning.

    My point is that there is probably some kind of zone of effect to this type of thing where in a kitchen for example you could expect that a plate or glass might get knocked off the counter so you would be queued up to catch something whenever you enter the kitchen.

    You should have gone with 15-20 pounds. Someone might have believed it then. Your scrawny freshman ass wasn't catching, deflecting, or parrying 50 pounds of anything near your head, let alone a log chucked at you by someone who was a legal adult to your legal minor. At a distance far enough for you to not see or hear the initial throw, the mass would have to be traveling moderately fast in order to be anywhere near your head before hitting the ground. Moderately fast squared, times your ridiculous claim of 50 pounds, equals you not standing a fucking chance, quick or not.

    I don't know what prompted this lame exaggerated story about an older boy molesting you with 50 pounds of hard wood, but there are better uses for a low digit UID.

  • Re:Eyes are Brains (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rk (6314) on Monday May 05, 2014 @08:26PM (#46924291) Journal

    Truth. One of my favorites is motion detection. It is carried out in the retina, and curiously, the neurons that compute motion are only wired to rods, not to cones. You can do some pretty freaky things to your vision armed with this knowledge. Example: write a simple program to bounce a green dot on a red field smoothly. It looks like motion. Get two polarized lenses, one green, one red, and put them together. You can then turn the lenses to a point where the contrast of the green and red are similar and you quit perceiving the motion of the dot and you only perceive discrete jumps of it. It's a very jarring experience.

  • Duck! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Flammon (4726) on Monday May 05, 2014 @09:50PM (#46924851) Homepage Journal
    The first time I experienced this affect was a few year ago while I was walking in some local trails. All of a sudden my body ducked and only after did I realise that I was about to hit a low hanging tree branch. Our mind is living in the past.
  • Re:Zoned? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by artor3 (1344997) on Monday May 05, 2014 @09:53PM (#46924879)

    He might just suck at estimating weight. I used to play a game at work where we would have people guess how much a package weighed before putting it on a scale, and some people are really, jaw-droppingly bad at that sort of thing. It's sort of interesting how people can usually estimate lengths, and volumes, and temperatures quite well, but on weight they'll be off by a factor of five or more.

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