Blog Archives

Simple ‘eye’ grown from stem cells

A Japanese team of researchers have turned embryonic mouse stem cells into a very basic eye, or ‘optic cup’. This video shows a time-lapse of the cells self-organising into the structure:

As you watch the video and read the article, think about the following curriculum links:

  • How do cells ‘organise’ and how do stem cells become differentiated?
  • What might be the therapeutic uses of this in the future?
  • What functionality does this ‘eye’ have compared to ours?

“Remarkably, the rudimentary eye and the different types of cells it contained took shape spontaneously from a floating cluster of embryonic stem cells the scientists had cultured.”

The Guardian has a good article on the story. The original paper was published in Nature (paywall), but their Scitable area has a very good focus on stem cells.

Illusion Contest 2010: Winners

The annual Illusion Of The Year Contest winners are featured on They give a god insight into how our brain processes visual stimuli and look really cool at the same time. Here is the winner:

Cool sinusoids

One of my favourites is this flash animation of waveforms with toggles to control what you focus on. Try it!

All of the illusions (from 2010 and before) are online here:

Beau Lotto: Optical Illusions Show How We See

The TED train rolls on, although this is from last year. Goes well with E2 Perception of Stimuli:

Click on over to Beau Lotto’s Lotto Lab for more brainy fun.

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