Eyewire, an online multiplayer game pioneered by Professor Sebastian Seung at MIT, allows players to map the three-dimensional structure of neurons in the brain. Every player, in essence, becomes a contributor to important neuroscientific research. Scientiists hypothesize that all mental properties from memory to mental illness are encoded in the the connections between neurons. Until these pathways can be mapped, the hypothesis cannot be proven.
Eyewire players help to "break the code" by analyzing brain images to map connections in the retina. According to a decription of the game given by its creators,
Players will "trace the wires” of the brain as if absorbed in play with a 3D jigsaw puzzle consisting of image pieces computed by artificial intelligence. The experience will rely on the spectacular graphics and other motivators of video gaming, but allow users to apply their minds to a worthy cause. [The project] will transform 21st century science and society by mobilizing our collective hearts and minds to understand how the brain works and why it malfunctions.
Play, learn and discuss the game at Eyewire.org. Link
(Image Credit: Eyewire.org)