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Do You See What I See: Scientists Model Brain Structure To Help Computers Recognize Objects
Date:12/21/2011

mporal cortex, can be strongly activated when particular objects are visible, regardless of how far away the objects are or how the objects are posed, a phenomenon referred to as viewpoint invariance."

The brain has an uncanny ability to detect and identify certain things, even if they're barely visible. Now the challenge is to get computers to do the same thing. And programming the computer to process the information laterally, like the brain does, might be a step in the right direction.

How inferotemporal neurons acquire their viewpoint invariant properties is unknown, but many neuroscientists point to the hierarchical organization of the human visual cortex as likely being an essential aspect.  

"Lateral connections have been generally overlooked in similar models designed to solve similar tasks.  We demonstrated that our model qualitatively reproduces human performance on the same task, both in terms of time and difficulty.  Although this is certainly no guarantee that the human visual system is using lateral interactions in the same way to solve this task, it does open up a new way to approach object detection problems," Gintautas said.

Simple features, such as particular edges of the image in a specific orientation, are extracted at the first cortical processing stage, called the primary visual cortex, or V1. Then subsequent cortical processing stages, V2, V4, etc., extract progressively more complex features, culminating in the inferotemporal cortex where that essential "viewpoint invariant object identification" is thought to occur.  But, most of the connections in the human brain do not project up the cortical hierarchy, as might be expected from gross neuroanatomy, but rather connect neurons located at the same hierarchical level, called lateral connections, and also project down the cortical hierarchy to lower processing levels.  

In the recently published work, the team modeled l
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SOURCE Los Alamos National Laboratory
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