|Developer(s)||Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|Release date(s)||December 10, 2012|
EyeWire is an online citizen science human-based computation game about tracing neurons in the retina. Eyewire was officially launched on December 10, 2012 and has since grown to over 60,000 players from 100 countries. The game is a project developed by MIT from data generated by the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, led by Dr. Sebastian Seung.
The goals of EyeWire are to identify specific cell types within the known broad classes of retinal cells, and to map the connections between neurons in the retina, which will help to determine how vision works. EyeWire is part of a larger effort called WiredDifferently, whose goal is to show that the uniqueness of a person lies in the pattern of connections between their neurons, or their connectome.
- The first immediate goal is to reconstruct the three-dimensional shapes of retinal neurons from two-dimensional images.
- The second goal is to identify the synapses to determine what the connections between the mapped neurons are.
- The final goal is to relate the connectivity with the known activity of the neurons.
The activity of each neuron in a 350×300×60 μm3 portion of a retina was determined by two-photon microscopy. Using serial block-face scanning electron microscopy, the same volume was stained to bring out the contrast of the plasma membranes, sliced into layers by a microtome and imaged using an electron microscope. A neuron is selected by the researchers. The program chooses a random cubic volume associated with that neuron for the player, along with an artificial intelligence's best guess for tracing the neuron through the two-dimensional images.
How to Play
The player's task is to select the areas that the AI missed, thus improving the trace of the neuron. Some improvements may merely fill in holes. Others may extend a branch, and others may find new branches that the AI missed. In the interface, a three-dimensional view shows the trace of the neuron through the volume, while the player can scroll up and down in the two-dimensional slices to follow the path. The player clicks on areas in the slices to add them to the trace. The AI automatically fills in the parts of the neuron that it detects are part of the player's clicked area. Once the player has decided the task is complete, the player submits the task and is presented with another task.
Each volume is presented to five different players, and the trace chosen by the majority of the players is accepted. Any new branches may result in new volumes being explored. For the beta, players get points based on whether their tracing matches the majority of other players' tracings and based on the new amount of neural volume found.
- EyeWire won Biovision's World Life Sciences Forum Catalyzer Prize on March 26, 2013.
- Citizen Scientist article March 27, 2013.
For More Information
Go to Eyewire
- "About << EyeWire". Retrieved March 26, 2012.
- "Retina << EyeWire". Retrieved March 27, 2012.
- "EyeWire". Retrieved March 27, 2012.
- "WiredDifferently". Retrieved March 27, 2012.
- Seung, Sebastian (2012). Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0547508184.
- "Challenge << EyeWire". Retrieved March 27, 2012.
- Sebastian Seung (March 18, 2012). "Very small sections of neuron". Retrieved March 27, 2012. "A few more words of explanation for the curious...you color neurons on EyeWire by guiding an artificial intelligence (AI). The AI was trained to color the branches of neurons."