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Brain Gaming

May 25, 2018

A video game helps neuroscientists discover new types of brain cells.



Gaming for science. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

People don’t play the computer game Eyewire just for fun– they also do it for science. Over a quarter of a million players trace the shape of thread-like neurons leading from the retina of a mouse eye to the brain. They’re called ganglion cells, and Princeton researcher Alexander Bae says there are 47 different types of them each processing visual information in its own way.

ALEXANDER BAE (Princeton):

So each type of ganglion cell is doing different things. And if you merge those different channels together, then that’s kind of giving the visual information that humans or animals are perceiving.


In the journal Cell, Bae and his colleagues report discovering six new types of ganglion cells thanks to Eyewire gamers – research that reveals how our eyes begin to process visual information before it’s sent to our brains. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon