Mozak is a game where you score points for participating in the mass-scale, crowdsourced mapping of dendrites in scanned brains of humans, rodents, and other organisms.
The tracing-tasks are repeatedly performed by different players, who emerge a consensus that corrects for individual errors. It's similar to re:CAPTCHA, which used login/authentication screens to refine machine-vision guesses at the ambiguous words.
The game itself is surprisingly fun! It was created by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's "Allen Institute for Brain Science" at the University of Washington -- which is led by Zoran Popović, who created the Foldit game that made significant advances in understanding protein folding.
The key to Mozak is to allow humans to do what they are good at, and computers to do what they are good at. In this case, humans exceedingly outperform computers with their ability to resolve and trace objects in 3 dimensions. Although computers can complete the reconstruction of robustly traced neurons, many neurons have delicate and highly branched structures that your eyes will distinguish far better. Your ability to do this will help us to build systems that work better at doing this, and can lead to focused discoveries in this space. Like other science games, computers can quickly simulate, verify, and potentially perform local optimizations on player designs — something that would be tedious and inefficient for humans to perform. By discovering new 3-dimensional neuronal arborization patterns, eventually matching them to firing and genetic patterns, and then simulating them in the game, we hope that you will come up with new ideas that can be applied to ongoing research in the field.
(via 4 Short Links)
Caltech theoretical physicist Sean Carroll, author of Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime, explains the concept of a “dimensions” at five different levels of complexity. Dr. Carroll sure has a big brane.
In 1936, the Tasmanian tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus) was declared to be extinct. Yet in the last three years, there have been eight reported sightings according to Tasmania’s Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment. I hope it’s true. From CNN: While stories abound that some continue to live in the remote wilds of Tasmania, […]
Who doesn’t love a free meal? From Nautilus Live: During the final dive of this year’s Nautilus expedition season, our team discovered a whale fall while exploring Davidson Seamount off central California’s coast with researchers from Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The skeletal remains of the whale lying on its back are estimated to be […]
Do you own a Mac? Unless you’re using it for a paperweight, you almost can’t afford not to get the Magnificent Mac Bundle. It’s a roundup of some truly essential security and file management apps, bundled up with great photo and video enhancers. The best part is that all nine apps are potentially available for […]
As much as vaping has taken over the market during the last decade, there’s still a lot of questions about the technology, as well as health concerns that we’re just now finding out about. One thing you can say about smoking: You know exactly what you’re getting, especially when it comes to pipes that you […]
We can’t all go through life with just a pair of sneakers and flip-flops. Sometimes, you have to invest in a pair of high-quality dress shoes. However, you’ve probably discovered that high-end footwear almost always comes with eye-popping price tags. You’ve got to compromise on second-hand or just suck it up and take out a […]