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February 23, 2018

"Glassbrain" (Image 1)

"Glassbrain," by Adam Gazzaley, Roger Anguera Singla, Rajat Jain, Tim Mullen, Christian Kothe, John Fesenko, Oleg Konings and Matt Omernick; University of California, San Francisco.

Part education tool, part neuroscience party trick, the Glassbrain app was first used on stage in 2012 on Mickey Hart, former drummer for the Grateful Dead, to show his brain reacting to music. A cap detects the different types of waves and signals pinging across the user's brain. The app then displays them in real time on a 3-D image built from brain scans taken earlier. Each color represents source power and connectivity in a different frequency bands -- theta, alpha, beta, gamma -- and the golden lines are white matter anatomical fiber tracts. Estimated information transfer between brain regions is visualized as pulses of light flowing along the fiber tracts connecting the regions.

Right now, the app is not sophisticated enough for clinical applications, but is mainly used for education and entertainment. But Roger Anguera Singla, one of the app's programmers at the University of California, San Francisco, hopes to build in value for medical professionals, too; for example, to allow neurosurgeons to "fly inside" a functional brain and better plan an upcoming surgery.

This screen capture (one of three in a series) won experts' choice (first place) in the games & apps category of the 2015 Visualization Challenge, now called The Vizzies, a long-running, annual competition co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and Popular Science. [The competition was formerly named the International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge (SciVis) and was previously co-sponsored with AAAS' journal Science.] The competition aims to recognize some of the most beautiful visualizations from the worlds of science and engineering and awards prizes in five categories: photography, video, illustration, posters & graphics and interactives.

To learn more about the competition and view all the winning entries past and present, see the NSF The VIZZIES: Visualization Challenge Special Report. (Date of Image: unknown) [Image 1 of 3 related images. See Image 2.]

Credit: Adam Gazzaley, Roger Anguera Singla, Rajat Jain, Tim Mullen, Christian Kothe, John Fesenko, Oleg Konings, and Matt Omernick

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