In a wonderful mash-up of gamification and crowdsourcing, the Mozak brainbuilder helps scientists at the University of Washington’s Center for Game Science by challenging gamers to connect the dots and identify the many dendrites coming from a single cell body. In the past, hard-working graduate students might toil away on this task, possibly making mistakes with tired eyes and wandering attention, but by pooling the consensus results from many people. A reliable, high-definition map a single human neuron can be produced in record time. My neuron, Human-TC-04, is in the temporal cortex of a human donor brain. mapping game I played was offered in partnership with the Allen Institute for Brain Science and I was one of 111 players who helped map this single neuron. Twenty of the segments I mapped were used in the drawing you see here. Isn’t it beautiful?
That’s one down, many millions more to go, so join us and have fun helping science! This is a great activity for teachers and students, as well as learning professionals. Learn more on their site and start playing today! It’s free and so much fun!