The Journal of Physiological Sciences
Online ISSN : 1880-6562
Print ISSN : 1880-6546
ISSN-L : 1880-6546
Regular Papers
Real-Time Emulation of Neural Images in the Outer Retinal Circuit
Jun HasegawaTetsuya Yagi
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2008 Volume 58 Issue 7 Pages 507-514


We describe a novel real-time system that emulates the architecture and functionality of the vertebrate retina. This system reconstructs the neural images formed by the retinal neurons in real time by using a combination of analog and digital systems consisting of a neuromorphic silicon retina chip, a field-programmable gate array, and a digital computer. While the silicon retina carries out the spatial filtering of input images instantaneously, using the embedded resistive networks that emulate the receptive field structure of the outer retinal neurons, the digital computer carries out the temporal filtering of the spatially filtered images to emulate the dynamic properties of the outer retinal circuits. The emulations of the neural image, including 128 × 128 bipolar cells, are carried out at a frame rate of 62.5 Hz. The emulation of the response to the Hermann grid and a spot of light and an annulus of light has demonstrated that the system responds as expected by previous physiological and psychophysical observations. Furthermore, the emulated dynamics of neural images in response to natural scenes revealed the complex nature of retinal neuron activity. We have concluded that the system reflects the spatiotemporal responses of bipolar cells in the vertebrate retina. The proposed emulation system is expected to aid in understanding the visual computation in the retina and the brain.

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© 2008 by The Physiological Society of Japan
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