Looking out the window as one flies over Los Angeles, one sees: an endless expanse of rooftops and swimming pools, ribbons of freeways, a cluster of skyscrapers in the distance, and further beyond, the San Gabriel mountains (hazy or clear depending on the day). How does this beautiful world of objects come to be? Light from the retina is carried by over a million axons of the optic nerve into the brain. These are the pixels that drive visual experience. But when we look around us, we don’t see pixels. We see invariant objects in space--invariant in that we perceive the objects as unchanged despite severe changes in appearance as we move around them. How does the brain stitch together pixels into invariant, discrete recognizable objects in space? This is the problem our lab is trying to solve. We are tackling it through study of the monkey brain, the mouse brain, and mathematical modeling. In addition, we are developing a new technique to study the human brain.
Professor Tsao's TEDx Talk: TEDxCaltech 2013