Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Computer graphics


Criminal investigations often use photographic evidence to identify suspects. Here we combined robust face perception and high-resolution photography to mine face photographs for hidden information. By zooming in on high-resolution face photographs, we were able to recover images of unseen bystanders from reflections in the subjects' eyes. To establish whether these bystanders could be identified from the reflection images, we presented them as stimuli in a face matching task (Experiment 1). Accuracy in the face matching task was well above chance (50%), despite the unpromising source of the stimuli. Participants who were unfamiliar with the bystanders' faces (n = 16) performed at 71% accuracy [t(15) = 7.64, p<.0001, d = 1.91], and participants who were familiar with the faces (n = 16) performed at 84% accuracy [t(15) = 11.15, p<.0001, d = 2.79]. In a test of spontaneous recognition (Experiment 2), observers could reliably name a familiar face from an eye reflection image. For crimes in which the victims are photographed (e.g., hostage taking, child sex abuse), reflections in the eyes of the photographic subject could help to identify perpetrators.

Concepts: Eye, Computer graphics, Child sexual abuse, Face, Faces, Photography, Photograph


Women’s preferences for penis size may affect men’s comfort with their own bodies and may have implications for sexual health. Studies of women’s penis size preferences typically have relied on their abstract ratings or selecting amongst 2D, flaccid images. This study used haptic stimuli to allow assessment of women’s size recall accuracy for the first time, as well as examine their preferences for erect penis sizes in different relationship contexts. Women (N = 75) selected amongst 33, 3D models. Women recalled model size accurately using this method, although they made more errors with respect to penis length than circumference. Women preferred a penis of slightly larger circumference and length for one-time (length = 6.4 inches/16.3 cm, circumference = 5.0 inches/12.7 cm) versus long-term (length = 6.3 inches/16.0 cm, circumference = 4.8 inches/12.2 cm) sexual partners. These first estimates of erect penis size preferences using 3D models suggest women accurately recall size and prefer penises only slightly larger than average.

Concepts: Computer graphics, Erectile dysfunction, Preference, Penis, Erection, Human penis size, Micropenis, Penis enlargement


In a wide range of biological studies, it is highly desirable to visualize and analyze three-dimensional (3D) microscopic images. In this primer, we first introduce several major methods for visualizing typical 3D images and related multi-scale, multi-time-point, multi-color data sets. Then, we discuss three key categories of image analysis tasks, namely segmentation, registration, and annotation. We demonstrate how to pipeline these visualization and analysis modules using examples of profiling the single-cell gene-expression of C. elegans and constructing a map of stereotyped neurite tracts in a fruit fly brain.

Concepts: Neuron, Model organism, Computer graphics


The abundant dinosaurian tracksites of the Lower Cretaceous (Valanginian-Barremian) Broome Sandstone of the Dampier Peninsula, Western Australia, form an important part of the West Kimberley National Heritage Place. Previous attempts to document these tracksites using traditional mapping techniques (e.g., surface overlays, transects and gridlines combined with conventional photography) have been hindered by the non-trivial challenges associated with working in this area, including, but not limited to: (1) the remoteness of many of the tracksites; (2) the occurrence of the majority of the tracksites in the intertidal zone; (3) the size and complexity of many of the tracksites, with some extending over several square kilometres. Using the historically significant and well-known dinosaurian tracksites at Minyirr (Gantheaume Point), we show how these issues can be overcome through the use of an integrated array of remote sensing tools. A combination of high-resolution aerial photography with both manned and unmanned aircraft, airborne and handheld high-resolution lidar imaging and handheld photography enabled the collection of large amounts of digital data from which 3D models of the tracksites at varying resolutions were constructed. The acquired data encompasses a very broad scale, from the sub-millimetre level that details individual tracks, to the multiple-kilometre level, which encompasses discontinuous tracksite exposures and large swathes of coastline. The former are useful for detailed ichnological work, while the latter are being employed to better understand the stratigraphic and temporal relationship between tracksites in a broader geological and palaeoecological context. These approaches and the data they can generate now provide a means through which digital conservation and temporal monitoring of the Dampier Peninsula’s dinosaurian tracksites can occur. As plans for the on-going management of the tracks in this area progress, analysis of the 3D data and 3D visualization will also likely provide an important means through which the broader public can experience these spectacular National Heritage listed landscapes.

Concepts: Geographic information system, Computer graphics, Cretaceous, Remote sensing, Intertidal zone, Cartography, Aerial photography, TopoFlight


There is a growing demand for in vitro assays for toxicity screening in three-dimensional (3D) environments. In this study, 3D cell culture using magnetic levitation was used to create an assay in which cells were patterned into 3D rings that close over time. The rate of closure was determined from time-lapse images taken with a mobile device and related to drug concentration. Rings of human embryonic kidney cells (HEK293) and tracheal smooth muscle cells (SMCs) were tested with ibuprofen and sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS). Ring closure correlated with the viability and migration of cells in two dimensions (2D). Images taken using a mobile device were similar in analysis to images taken with a microscope. Ring closure may serve as a promising label-free and quantitative assay for high-throughput in vivo toxicity in 3D cultures.

Concepts: Cardiac muscle, Cell culture, Urinary bladder, Actin, Computer graphics, Muscle contraction, Smooth muscle, HEK cell


Laser scanning technology is one of the most integral parts of today’s scientific research, manufacturing, defense, and biomedicine. In many applications, high-speed scanning capability is essential for scanning a large area in a short time and multi-dimensional sensing of moving objects and dynamical processes with fine temporal resolution. Unfortunately, conventional laser scanners are often too slow, resulting in limited precision and utility. Here we present a new type of laser scanner that offers ∼1,000 times higher scan rates than conventional state-of-the-art scanners. This method employs spatial dispersion of temporally stretched broadband optical pulses onto the target, enabling inertia-free laser scans at unprecedented scan rates of nearly 100 MHz at 800 nm. To show our scanner’s broad utility, we use it to demonstrate unique and previously difficult-to-achieve capabilities in imaging, surface vibrometry, and flow cytometry at a record 2D raster scan rate of more than 100 kHz with 27,000 resolvable points.

Concepts: Time, Optics, Optical fiber, Flow cytometry, Computer graphics, Scan, Scanner, 3D scanner


We report Giga-pixel lensfree holographic microscopy and tomography using color sensor-arrays such as CMOS imagers that exhibit Bayer color filter patterns. Without physically removing these color filters coated on the sensor chip, we synthesize pixel super-resolved lensfree holograms, which are then reconstructed to achieve ∼350 nm lateral resolution, corresponding to a numerical aperture of ∼0.8, across a field-of-view of ∼20.5 mm(2). This constitutes a digital image with ∼0.7 Billion effective pixels in both amplitude and phase channels (i.e., ∼1.4 Giga-pixels total). Furthermore, by changing the illumination angle (e.g., ±50°) and scanning a partially-coherent light source across two orthogonal axes, super-resolved images of the same specimen from different viewing angles are created, which are then digitally combined to synthesize tomographic images of the object. Using this dual-axis lensfree tomographic imager running on a color sensor-chip, we achieve a 3D spatial resolution of ∼0.35 µm×0.35 µm×∼2 µm, in x, y and z, respectively, creating an effective voxel size of ∼0.03 µm(3) across a sample volume of ∼5 mm(3), which is equivalent to >150 Billion voxels. We demonstrate the proof-of-concept of this lensfree optical tomographic microscopy platform on a color CMOS image sensor by creating tomograms of micro-particles as well as a wild-type C. elegans nematode.

Concepts: Optics, Computer graphics, Digital photography, IMAGE, Image sensor, Pixel, Color filter array, Bayer filter


Computational Neuroscience is an emerging field that provides unique opportunities to study complex brain structures through realistic neural simulations. However, as biological details are added to models, the execution time for the simulation becomes longer. Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) are now being utilized to accelerate simulations due to their ability to perform computations in parallel. As such, they have shown significant improvement in execution time compared to Central Processing Units (CPUs). Most neural simulators utilize either multiple CPUs or a single GPU for better performance, but still show limitations in execution time when biological details are not sacrificed. Therefore, we present a novel CPU/GPU simulation environment for large-scale biological networks, the NeoCortical Simulator version 6 (NCS6). NCS6 is a free, open-source, parallelizable, and scalable simulator, designed to run on clusters of multiple machines, potentially with high performance computing devices in each of them. It has built-in leaky-integrate-and-fire (LIF) and Izhikevich (IZH) neuron models, but users also have the capability to design their own plug-in interface for different neuron types as desired. NCS6 is currently able to simulate one million cells and 100 million synapses in quasi real time by distributing data across eight machines with each having two video cards.

Concepts: Brain, Simulation, Operations research, Parallel computing, Computer graphics, Computer, Simulation123, Computer simulation


SUMMARY: This application note describes a new scalable semi-automatic approach, the Dual Point Decision Process (DP2), for segmentation of 3D structures contained in 3D microscopy. The segmentation problem is distributed to many individual workers such that each receives only simple questions regarding whether or not two points in an image are placed on the same object. A large pool of micro-labor workers available through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk system provide the labor in a scalable manner.Availability and Implementation: Python based code for non-commercial use and test data are available in the source archive at CONTACT: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Test result information, discussion, and a DP2 process flowchart are available at Bioinformatics online.

Concepts: Cluster analysis, Decision theory, Computer graphics, Computer program, Amazon Web Services,, Flowchart, Amazon Mechanical Turk


Focal degradation of extracellular matrix (ECM) is the first step in the invasion of cancer cells. MT1-MMP is a potent membrane proteinase employed by aggressive cancer cells. In our previous study, we reported that MT1-MMP was preferentially located at membrane protrusions called invadopodia, where MT1-MMP underwent quick turnover. Our computer simulation and experiments showed that this quick turnover was essential for the degradation of ECM at invadopodia (Hoshino, D., et al., (2012) PLoS Comp. Biol., 8: e1002479). Here we report on characterization and analysis of the ECM-degrading activity of MT1-MMP, aiming at elucidating a possible reason for its repetitive insertion in the ECM degradation. First, in our computational model, we found a very narrow transient peak in the activity of MT1-MMP followed by steady state activity. This transient activity was due to the inhibition by TIMP-2, and the steady state activity of MT1-MMP decreased dramatically at higher TIMP-2 concentrations. Second, we evaluated the role of the narrow transient activity in the ECM degradation. When the transient activity was forcibly suppressed in computer simulations, the ECM degradation was heavily suppressed, indicating the essential role of this transient peak in the ECM degradation. Third, we compared continuous and pulsatile turnover of MT1-MMP in the ECM degradation at invadopodia. The pulsatile insertion showed basically consistent results with the continuous insertion in the ECM degradation, and the ECM degrading efficacy depended heavily on the transient activity of MT1-MMP in both models. Unexpectedly, however, low-frequency/high-concentration insertion of MT1-MMP was more effective in ECM degradation than high-frequency/low-concentration pulsatile insertion even if the time-averaged amount of inserted MT1-MMP was the same. The present analysis and characterization of ECM degradation by MT1-MMP together with our previous report indicate a dynamic nature of MT1-MMP at invadopodia and the importance of its transient peak in the degradation of the ECM.

Concepts: Cell membrane, Thermodynamics, Computer graphics, Monte Carlo method, Computer simulation, Mathematical model, AnyLogic, Computational science