Welcome to Synapse, a project by Kent Haeger. Many intro-to-neurobiology students have difficulty visualizing neural circuitry and the functions thereof, a task which would be significantly easier were these circuits to be animated; better still, the students could build the circuitry themselves to develop a better understanding of how they work. A simple computer game which models realistic neural circuitry would be ideal for these purposes, and hence a short proof-of-concept game was produced for this project. Macromedia Flash was chosen as the development environment to reach the largest possible audience; virtually every user has Flash Player installed on their computer. For the sake of accessibility, many simplifications had to be made to neural function, though the result is still realistic enough to showcase the functions of the circuits it models. Some of these may be removed in possible future versions; see the Details page.

Instructions: Each level has one or more inputs on the left side and outputs on the right. Mouse over the inputs to see what pattern they fire in; mouse over the outputs to see which kind of stimulation (excitatory or inhibitory and possibly at what times) they require. You must arrange the given neurons to produce the desired output! Neurons may be dragged by the cell body, and synaptic boutons may be dragged individually. Mouse over any component for information; neuron information can be retrieved by mousing over the cell bodies. Click the input button(s) to initiate the tests; there may be multiple tests of your circuit. Good luck!

Questions and comments are welcome.

(c) 2008 Kent Haeger