Areas that do show noticeable changes appear on the images as a cluster of bright yellow pixels, fading out to orange and red at their peripheries. The images look strikingly like the Doppler radar images you see on the Weather Channel. (If you blur your eyes a little, you might think that yellow patch on the image was a thunderhead, not a brainstorm.) The image is projected over a grid with numbers running along each axis. The numbered grid and the slices create a three-dimensional system of coordinates, the latitude and longitude of neuromapping. The grid is made up of small cubes called "voxels," and each voxel has a specific address.Link
Joy begins by laying down the twenty-five slices for stage one of our experiment, the dreaded checkerboard. The pattern of activity is immediately visible, even to my untutored eyes, mostly because there's literally nothing going on in 95 percent of my brain. Only a thin band wrapping around the back of my head, roughly at ear level, glows yellow.
"We know that the flashing checkerboard is a very salient stimulus for just the visual processing areas of the brain," she says. "And that's exactly what's happening here."
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.