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6th Bernstein Sparks Workshop: Multi-modal closed-loop stimulation and virtual realities

During recent years, virtual reality (VR) techniques have become well established in neuroscience. Greatly extending its strong focus on human psychophysics, VR has been successfully applied by various labs to a wide range of animal models, including insects, rodents and non-human primates. However, VRs in use typically provide only visual stimulation. Only few labs have embarked to design VRs that provide stimuli adequate for audition, olfaction or the somato-sensory system. Attempts to combine VR techniques across sensory modalities are extremely rare.

The stimulus repertoire of VRs is thus highly reduced compared to “real” reality. This is a particularly severe constraint as many neurophysiological and neuroanatomical studies have demonstrated a strong interaction and interconnectedness of different sensory modalities. There is evidence for mutual influences among our senses during sensory processing in the mammalian neocortex and even in pre-cortical brain areas. These findings highlight the need to extend VR techniques to multi-modality and to provide more realistic experimental setups for probing sensory processing, including the perceptually correct synchronization and weighting of the modalities.
The workshop will bring together internationally renowned labs that use state-of-the-art VR systems and will concentrate their expertise towards the development of perceptually plausible, multi-modal VRs optimized for key model organisms in neuroscience. The workshop includes invited talks as well as informal discussions to elucidate the strengths and open challenges of the different approaches.

Asli Ayaz (tactile VR in rodents; ETH, Helmchen lab)
Stephan Ewert (auditory perception and acoustic VR in humans; Oldenburg)
James G Heys (imaging in rodent VR; Northwestern University, Dombeck lab)
Patrick Kaifosh (multi-model stimulation in combination with imaging in awake rodents; Columbia University, Losonczy lab)
Steven LaValle (Oculus, robotics, and virtual reality; University of Illinois)
Tobias Meilinger (human VR; MPI for Biological Cybernetics)
Ville Pulkki
(acoustic VR; Aalto University)

Inês MA Ribeiro (VR in Drosophila; Janelia farm, Dickson lab and MPI of Neurobiology, Borst lab)
Christoph Schmidt-Hieber (patch-clamp in rodent VR; UCL, Häusser lab)
Michael Vorländer (acoustic VR; RWTH Aachen)

Abstract book

Poster submissions are highly encouraged. Please submit title and author list to Kay Thurley.

Local organizers
Kay Thurley, Lutz Wiegrebe, Bernhard Seeber

Bernstein Zentrum München
Bernstein Koordinationsstelle (BCOS)

Evangelische Akademie Tutzing

June 24-25, 2015

Workshop fees per person
Workshop registration only (incl. lunch, dinner and coffee breaks):
For members of the Bernstein Network and the Bernstein Association for Computational Neuroscience: 110 €
For non-members: 150 €

+ accommodation in single room (incl. breakfast), June 24-25: +90 €
accommodation in double room (incl. breakfast), June 24-25: +70 €

For registration please contact Kay Thurley.