Showing posts from July, 2013

Conference report: EMS13, Lisbon

Ah. Lisbon. What a beautiful city! And a tile makers heaven, right Mike?

Honestly, it felt a bit odd to go this historic and pittoresqe place to discuss recent research in electroacoustic music studies inside the ultrabrutalist concrete and glass walls of the Culturgest. But I guess that's the charm of studying something so closely linked with modernist aesthetics.

The EMS conference this year was more about networking and getting updated on what's happening in the field than coming to great new theoretical insights. But I learned a lot - especially that there are many people out there thinking many of the same thoughts as me, and that's both reassuring and disturbing. Damn, I thought I was more original! Luckily there were other saying the same.
As mentioned in the symposium report from Leicester a couple of year back, there are lots of things going on with regards to tools and methods for analysis of electroacoustic music. OREMA is getting stronger slowly, and I renewed …

A radio controlled rat for demonstrating place cells

Some weeks ago I did a project for the IST Austria demonstrating place cells at the annual Open Campus science faire. The station was very successful, with more than 100 visitors in 5 hours.

Photo: Patrizia Gapp
The place cell is a specific cell type that neurobiologists study in the rat brain. Put simply, we have certain neurons that are active only when we are located at specific place in an environment. Some nevrobiologists, like the Csicsvari group at the IST, are interested in how the behavior of these cells relate to learning and memory.

Place field. Each dot represent a "firing" by the neuron. From
The idea was to demonstrate this concept by letting the visitors control a radio controlled rat running around in a maze not unlike the one the scientists use. With help of a motion tracking system we would then simulate that a "neuron in the rat brain" would "fire" when the rat was in a specific "place field."

Like in the rea…