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Computers outperform humans in a variety of tasks such as multiplication, database search, etc. However, computers cannot even come close to human performance for tasks such as perception and cognition. In fact, while seeing what is around us appears to be an effortless and easy task for us, this apparently simple problem has been intractable with current engineering design principles and technologies.

Our long-term goal is to reverse-engineer the human brain and mind. We believe that the achievement of this goal will be transformational for society, from the design of smart machines to restoring or augmenting our perceptual and cognitive capabilities. Recognizing the significance of this problem, recently, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) called reverse-engineering the brain as one of the 14 engineering grand challenges for the 21st century. We think that reverse-engineering the brain cannot proceed effectively without reverse-engineering the mind and we adopt an approach whereby we study the mind within the context of the brain.

Current projects of interest in our laboratory include:

Perception of form, especially for moving objects:, viz., how does the visual system compute the form of a moving object, such as an approaching animal?

What are the reference-frames used in these computations (e.g., retinotopic (eye-based), head-based, object-based, grouping-based)?

How does the visual system store visual information in memory? How is visual memory accessed? Are simple features such as color, shape, direction of motion, stored independently or in a bound form? What are the reference-frames used in memory representations?

While viewing a scene, our eyes undergo a variety of movements, many of which we are not aware of. These eye movements induce a significant amount of motion in the retinal image, yet we perceive the world stable. How is this stability achieved?

 

Visual Masking
The First Half Second
Experimental Phenomena of Consciousness

Selected Publications