Darya Task is a PhD student in neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University and is the leader of the Communication Committee for Project Bridge, an organization dedicated to science outreach. Together with her committee, they aim to create an "infinity room" inspired by artist Yayoi Kusama.
By covering all of the surfaces of a room with mirrors, combined with lighting and various sculptural elements inside the space, the
artist creates the sense of an unending expanse surrounding the viewer. This concept also lends itself to the vastness of the human brain, with its billions of interconnected neurons.
The goal of this project is to create a small, portable room covered inside with mirrored surfaces (reflective sheets) in which are suspended and reflected about a dozen model neurons. These neurons would be connected to each other to illustrate a neural network, and would have LEDs inside the axons, programmed to show an action potential moving down the axon of one neuron, and then ‘turning on’ the next neuron in the network when it reaches it. The neural signaling will be interactive, so that the person inside the infinity room can press a button to cause the neurons to ‘fire’. The button can be made to look like a sensory organ (e.g. eye or ear) or stimulus (such as fire to represent heat or pain) to convey the idea that stimuli in the outside world cause neurons in our brains to fire, and that’s how we can figure out what we see, feel or experience.
Their goal is to complete the infinity room by the beginning of the academic year - stay tuned by following along with Project Bridge!
Curious about the other scicomm grant recipients? Check them out!