Michael Trumpis, MS (2nd. year) Electrical Engineering
Summary: Vision is the primary sense of many animals and much is known about how vision is processed in the mammalian nervous system. One distinct property of the primary visual cortex is a highly organized pattern of sensitivity to location and orientation of objects in the visual field. But how did we learn this? An important tool is the ability to design experiments to map out the structure and response of a system such as vision. In this activity, students learn about the visual system and then conduct a model experiment to map the visual field response of a Panoptes robot. (In Greek mythology, Argus Panoptes was the "all-seeing" watchman giant with 100 eyes.) A simple activity modification enables a true black box experiment, in which students do not directly observe how the visual system is configured, and must match the input to the output in order to reconstruct the unseen system inside the box.