A Neurocomputational Model of Smooth Pursuit Control to Interact with the Real World
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Whether we want to drive a car, play a ball game, or even enjoy watching a flying bird, we need to track moving objects. This is possible via smooth pursuit eye movements (SPEMs), which maintain the image of the moving object on the fovea (i.e., a very small portion of the retina with high visual resolution). At first glance, performing an accurate SPEM by the brain may seem trivial. However, imperfect visual coding, processing and transmission delays, wide variety of object sizes, and background textures make the task challenging. Furthermore, the existence of distractors in the environment makes it even more complicated and it is no wonder why understanding SPEM has been a classic question of human motor control. To understand physiological systems of which SPEM is an example, creation of models has played an influential role. Models make quantitative predictions that can be tested in experiments. Therefore, modelling SPEM is not only valuable to learn neurobiological mechanisms of smooth pursuit or more generally gaze control but also beneficial to give insight into other sensory-motor functions. In this thesis, I present a neurocomputational SPEM model based on Neural Engineering Framework (NEF) to drive an eye-like robot. The model interacts with the real world in real time. It uses naturalistic images as input and by the use of spiking model neurons controls the robot. This work can be the first step towards more thorough validation of abstract SPEM control models. Besides, it is a small step toward neural models that drive robots to accomplish more intricate sensory-motor tasks such as reaching and grasping.
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Seyed Omid Sadat Rezai (2014). A Neurocomputational Model of Smooth Pursuit Control to Interact with the Real World. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/8224