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Revision as of 07:16, 29 July 2015

About the Cover

The image on the front cover shows a snail neuron grown on a CMOS chip with 128 x 128 transistors (Image courtesy: Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry). The electrical activity of the neuron is recorded by the chip (fabricated by Infineon Technologies). Since neurons communicate by pulse series, capacitive coupling is a viable method of interfacing silicon chips and nerve cells. Electrical signal transmission is the fundamental form of communicating in computers and in brains. Current applications of neural implants not only record neural or brain activities for research purposes, but also support deep brain stimulation and Vagus nerve stimulation for patients with Parkinson's disease and clinical depression, respectively. Today, neural implants enable cortically-based artificial vision by stimulating regions on the visual cortex. Experiments in the early twentieth century revealed that electrical stimulation of various regions of the visual cortex leads to the perception of points of light (called phosphenes) at specific places in space. Today, cortically-based artificial vision allows simple patterns, such as lines, to be perceived by blind humans. It isn't far-fetched to imagine that future advances in brain-computer interfaces would not only enable vision prostheses for the blind, but may --some day-- enable us to bypass the visual system entirely and augment natural vision for the non-blind individual without external display technology.
The back cover illustrates historic drawings of early projectors (from left to right): Johannes de Fontana's 1420 projecting lantern without lens (possibly a camera obscura), Leonardo Da Vinci's 1515 lantern with lens (but without indication of projecting an image), and Athansius Kirchner's 1640-1671 magic lantern (with lens on wrong side). The evolution of display technology has been influenced primarily by the public desire for entertainment, with movie theaters and television being the two drawing cards of the last century, and 3D versions of film becoming increasingly popular at the moment. Projection (and particularly film projection) can be considered as the first display technology that brought us to where we are today.

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