FAQ
  • Greetings everyone.  This is our new FAQ section, we’ll be updating it regularly as new questions come up and things change on the site.  Before you post any new questions on the discussion boards check in here first to see if your query has already been answered. 


  • General

    This site is really cool; do I need to be a scientist to help out?

    Nope! No specialized knowledge is required, but being curious, observant and clever will be helpful.

    How many neurons are in the brain?

    It's estimated that there are 100 billion neurons in the brain.

    How many cells have we mapped?

    The exact number of cells we have mapped will continue to increase.  If you look at the overview and click on the button that says "Change Cell" in the upper left you can see the cells we've been working on recently.

    What sort of cells are we working on?

    Currently we are reconstructing retinal ganglion cells.  Recently we've been working on J Cells and starburst amacrine cells.

    How many cubes/hours does it take to complete one neuron?

    The answer is complicated.  The amount of time and number of cubes will differ, depending on what type of cell we are currently reconstructing, and how many people are playing EyeWire.  It is safe to say there are a couple of thousand cubes needed to complete one neuron.

    Do multiple people work on each cube/neuron?

    Yes, multiple people work on each cube.  We do this to promote accuracy.  Each individual result is compared and then the AI decides the correct answer.

    Why can't I work on my own neuron?

    It would take you a very long time to complete one cell all by yourself.  Also, having many people complete each cube helps increase accuracy (even experts occasionally miss something).  If you were all on your own it'd be very easy to miss something or add something incorrectly.  Having several sets of eyes, and the comparing capabilities of the AI, help make sure mistakes are caught, and allows us to award points.  See the points section for more information.

  • Can I see the cube I just did?

    Sort of.  If you go here you can see the cells we're working on.  You can see the cubes you've worked on by clicking on your name.

    Can someone help me with this piece?

    Yes, but you've got to catch one of the admins while you're still in the problematic cube.  Try the chat feature and ask if one of the admins can help you see what's going wrong/right.  If no admins are available try taking a screen shot of the problematic piece (try to position the piece in the 2D and 3D so we can see the issue, and post it here in the forum.  Other EyeWirers will help you figure out the problem.

    What happened to my progress bar?  Why don't I get a percentage score anymore?

    Congratulations, you've finished the tutorial!  After you finish the lessons in the tutorial there are several more training tasks that give you a progress bar and a percentage score.  After you've finished the tutorial we can't give you a percentage of how accurate you were or a progress bar because we don't know the answer.  You're helping us put together cells that have never been put together before.

    If EyeWire can tell me what I got wrong, why do I need to be doing this?

    EyeWire can only tell you that you've made mistakes during the tutorial.  After that you're working on stuff that hasn't been done before, so we don't know the answer.  The points you get after the tutorial are based off of the time you spent on the cube and how your results compare to your fellow EyeWirers.

    If the computer can fill in the neurons to the extent that we see in the cubes on EyeWire, why can't it do everything?  Why are there holes?

    The artificial intelligence (AI) used by EyeWire isn't perfect.  It's making its best guess as to what belongs and what doesn't.  By guiding the AI you are actually helping it learn to do better and make fewer mistakes in the future.

  • Points
    Is it a computer or a person who decides the correct answer and the points?

    The computer compares the results from several different people; it then decides the correct answer.

    How are points decided?

    There are two parts to each score. The first is dependent on how long you took to do the task. If you get a new task and immediately click done, you will get zero points for that part of your score. This way you will get more points for the harder tasks that take longer. It should be noted that the number of points you can earn for time spent are limited. In other words don't just leave your browser open overnight on a task to earn points. It won't work. The second part of your score comes from how accurately you did the task based on how everyone else did it.

    Did the scoring system change?

    Yes, your score used to based solely off how accurate your work was compared to everyone else. Now it's based on how accurate you work is compared to everyone else and how much time you spent on a piece. I liked the feedback I got during the training section when I selected something incorrectly. Why don’t I still get feedback as I’m working? We can’t give you feedback before you complete a task because we don’t know the answer. For accuracy it’s also important that we have several people independently complete each task; giving feedback as you work would undermine that.

    Why did I get zero points?

    Zero points are awarded if you didn't add anything and didn't scroll through the task at all, or you made a significant error. What is a trailblazer/how many points do they get? The trailblazer is the first one to do a task. You actually do get points as a trailblazer, but they don't show up right away.  The next time you log back into EyeWire you should get a bunch of points.

  • How To
    How do I select something?

    Click on it in the 2D. To deselect either right click in the 2D, or Ctrl+click in the 3D.

    How do I know when I am done with a piece?

    There are a couple different things that will indicate you have finished the piece. If you've scrolled through the entire piece, and haven’t found anything else to add, you're off to a good start.

    Now look at the 3D; are their any jagged outcroppings or rough spots? If so you'll want to go back and double check; there may be something missing.

    Something else to keep in mind, did the piece go from one side of the cube to the other? Usually the piece you're working on should cross the boundary of the cube at least twice.

    How to use the 3D

    To change the orientation of the piece in the 3D, click and drag anywhere in the 3D. To zoom, click inside the 3D view and use your mouse or the touch pad on your computer to scroll in and out. To pan in 3D right click and drag. The gray plane represents the slice you see in the 2D view. To alter the position of the plane, double click and drag it with your cursor.

  • What is This?
    I just got a huge piece that fills up most of the 3D, what is it?

    Sounds like you've encountered a cell body. We try to eliminate these from the task queue but they do pop up from time to time. Please focus on the missing pieces at the edge of the cube, but don't spend more than five minutes on these cubes.

    I just got a really small piece. There wasn't anything that needed to be added, is that ok?

    Yep, that’s ok. Those small tasks are annoying and we're working on getting rid of them. Look forward to never seeing another small chunk again in the next week or two.

    Eyewire gave me two pieces that are stuck together

    Sounds like you've found a merger. The AI that guides Eyewire is good, and constantly improving, but not perfect. Once in a while it does stick two things together that do not belong. There's no way to tell which one you were intended to do, so please skip the task if you can't figure out which is the correct piece.

  • Problems
    I think there's a problem with the site.

    You can report a bug in the forum by starting a new discussion about the problem. Before you do that, check to see if someone else has already started a discussion about the same problem; if so +1 their post and add your comments there. When we've resolved the issue, please let us know that the issue is fixed so we can close the thread.

    When I log onto the play site it says that my browser isn't supported. Why, what should I be using?

    Currently the only supported internet browsers are Chrome, Firefox and Safari. First you should make sure you are using the most recent version of one of the aforementioned browsers. If you are indeed using a supported browser and are still having trouble there are a couple of things it could be. Go here for more help WebGL

    Why can't I just use Internet Explorer?

    Unfortunately IE does not support a necessary application: WebGL. Providing you with the interactive 2D and 3D graphics that make Eyewire exciting (and easier to use) is a cutting edge capability for a web browser, and we were only able to deliver it using a new software library called WebGL. Every major web browser, except IE supports WebGL. Microsoft has no plans to support WebGL, so we expect this problem with IE to be permanent. EyeWire works with all other major browsers. However, you may need to upgrade to the latest version if you have an old one.

    Can I play on my ipad/iphone/tablet?

    Currently EyeWire is not supported on any tablets or smart phones.

    How do I turn off the chat?

    To mute the chat click the speaker icon in the lower right corner of the screen.  To get rid of the chat entirely type /silence into chat.  To restart chat type /silence again.

    Why do I get a message saying 'certificate has expired'?

    You navigated https://eyewire.org.  We used to use https but we have since switched to using plain http. If you navigate to http://eyewire.org, you won't get the message anymore.  Please update your bookmarks. 

  • Other Ways to Help
    How else can I help?

    You can help us spread the word about EyeWire, the more users we have the better we'll become and the more science we'll be able to do. You can help answer new EyeWirers' questions in the forums and in the chat. You can help us look for mergers in the overview (make sure to post a screen shot in the forum so we can find it).

    If you've got a particular skill you think might benefit our cause we'd love to hear about it. We would love some help editing this wiki, to make it more comprehensive and to make it more accessible to people without science backgrounds.

    As the community continues to grow more opportunities will pop up. Feel free to suggest something!

    I have a great idea for a new feature, who do I tell?

    Post your ideas in the forum. Check first to see if another person has requested the same thing, and if so +1 their idea or comment in that thread.

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