Gamers help scientists explore the brain and discover new types of neurons

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2018-05-23 19:00:06

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Gamers help scientists explore the brain and discover new types of neurons

In our world many people video games are still perceived as something frivolous. But this is not so. For example, we have already informed you about the fact that gamers demonstrated , and recently a group of researchers has published data about the project, in which gamers help scientists explore the brain, and even make scientific discoveries.

It all Started in 2012 with the launch of the Princeton project Eyewire. It is, in fact, a study aimed at mapping the brain, but the only difference is that the monotonous task of this project has turned into a pretty exciting game. To start is to say that mapping is necessary for the study of the brain, connections of neurons with each other and identifying patterns of their work. Challenging the process is from the fact that the number of neurons in the brain even according to conservative estimates exceed $ 100 billion, and the number of links that need to be documented, in hundreds and thousands times more than this figure.

But back to the game. It starts with a small segment of the retina of the rodent. Gamers need to see connections and to understand the work of this body. You need to keep track of the turns and twists of neurons moving in a kind of "Cuba from nerve cells". After this "the cube", the player uploads it in order to have him checked out by other gamers and scientists. If the cube is correctly decrypted, it is placed in the Eyewire Museum (digital Atlas of brain cells), and the player offer a new and more complex. As an incentive, there is known to any gamer achievements and privileges, just like in any video game.

At this point in Eyewire has registered about 250,000 people, and they mapped about 3,000 nerve cells. Moreover, due to the players managed to discover a new type of neuron responsible for transmitting information. At the request of one of the authors of the project Amy Robinson sterling,

"Previously, the mapping of a single cell takes a week, and now we are making the Atlas a few neurons a day!"

But that's not all. Eyewire has a built-in artificial intelligence algorithm, which learns and watching the actions of the players, even more speed up the mapping process.

"the combined efforts of tens of thousands of people lead us to a fuller understanding of how the brain works. This opens up limitless possibilities".

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