Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain uses eyes to pick up things: Unraveling the calculations

Date:
September 13, 2010
Source:
NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research)
Summary:
How does your brain know where your hand has to go to pick up a cup of coffee and successfully bring this to your mouth? By converting all of the information into coordinates of the eye, according to new Dutch research. Unraveling those calculations will make it possible to more accurately control arm prostheses.

How does your brain know where your hand has to go to pick up a cup of coffee and successfully bring this to your mouth? By converting all of the information into coordinates of the eye discovered Dutch researcher Sabine Beurze. Unravelling those calculations will make it possible to more accurately control arm prostheses.

Related Articles


Babies learn to pick things up or put things down without knocking everything over. How the brain combines information about the position of your arms with the information that comes in through your eyes was largely unknown. Beurze allowed study subjects to perform tests in an MRI scanner. These revealed that our brains convert all of the information into a single calculation system: that of our eyes.

Pointing in the dark

Tied up in the dark with only your forearms and hands still free. Your head is so firmly fixed that it is impossible for you to move it. What do you need to do? Point to small lights. That was the task Beurze gave her study subjects. They could not see their hands and so they had to determine where to move them based on the information from muscles and nerves in the body. Meanwhile the researcher recorded the activity in the brain. Two regions in the brain were found to be involved in the movement: the posterior parietal cortex and the dorsal premotor cortex. The brain uses the same regions for the planning of eye movements.

To examine how the brain processes the incoming information from the eyes, muscles and nerves, Beurze devised another test. Study subjects had to stretch out their arm and on command point this ten degrees to the right. They had to do this with their arm stretched out in front of them and with their arm to the right. Sometimes the study subjects could look at their hand and on other occasions not. The mistakes study subjects made demonstrated that even if they could not see their hand, the brain calculated where their hand was in relation to their eye. By doing this the brain eventually obtains a reference framework for the position of the hand in relation to the target.

Arm prosthesis

Sabine Beurze examined for the first time how people convert different information flows into a system to control movement. Up until now, most of the research had been done on apes. The results of Beurze's research might contribute to an improved control of arm prostheses. Although prostheses that can be controlled by the brain are currently under development, these are still prone to errors. Understanding which calculations the brain performs to control movement will make it possible to further perfect these arm prostheses. The results also provide hope for people with a motor impairment.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research). "Brain uses eyes to pick up things: Unraveling the calculations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100831073624.htm>.
NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research). (2010, September 13). Brain uses eyes to pick up things: Unraveling the calculations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100831073624.htm
NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research). "Brain uses eyes to pick up things: Unraveling the calculations." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100831073624.htm (accessed November 1, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Alzheimer’s Hope

Alzheimer’s Hope

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) A new drug, BCI-838 offers new hope to halt and possibly reverse the damage of Alzheimer’s disease. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is studying the popular Music and Memory program to see if music, which helps improve the mood of Alzheimer's patients, can also reduce the use of prescription drugs for those suffering from dementia. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

AP (Oct. 28, 2014) Moms and Dads get a more hands-on approach to parenting with tech-centric products for raising their little ones. (Oct. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Newsy (Oct. 27, 2014) Researchers have come up with another reason why dark chocolate is good for your health. A substance in the treat can reportedly help with memory. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins