The eye has its own connectome, the neuronal network of the retina that processes the incoming signals before it sends them off to the brain. Much of its structure is yet unknown, and now researchers are looking into the powers of crowdsourcing to process the vast amounts of data they have acquired on the structure. Eyewire, developed by neuroscientists at MIT, comprises a game that requires the players to connect the neurons in a small piece of the retina.
By incorporating a game-like element and engaging a crowd from all over the world the researchers hope to speed up their analyses.
The game itself is pretty simple, requiring you to color the retinal images in order to map the connections. It does not require any specialized knowledge. Right now it is all about tracing and reconstructing the individual neurons. At a later stage another game will be introduced to map the synapses in order to complete the connectome. Eventually the researchers hope to make it powerful enough to be applied to the brain.
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