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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 84 billion neurons in the brain.

Am I really tracing neurons in the human brain?

Actually, no. You're tracing neurons in the retina of a mouse. A mouse's retina is similar to a human retina in many ways.

How many cells have we mapped?

The exact number of cells we have mapped will continue to increase, but if you look at the overview here you can see what we've been working on recently.

What sort of cells are we working on?

Currently we are reconstructing ganglion cells. These neurons are the outputs of the retina, sending their axons through the optic nerve to the brain. In the past we've reconstructed some J cells. We've also put up starburst amacrine cells for some of our more advanced players.

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

The answer is complicated, but it's safe to say there are a couple of thousand cubes needed to complete one neuron, and remember that each task is done by several different users. The number of tasks will change from cell to cell because they may be different sizes.

Do multiple people work on each neuron?

Yes, multiple people work on each cube. We do this to promote accuracy, each individual result is compared and then the Artificial Intelligence (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 on how points are awarded.

Can I see the cube I just did?

Sort of. If you go to the overview you can see the cells we're working on. You can see the how much you've done by clicking on your name.

Can someone help me with this piece?

Yes, but you've got to catch one of the admins and mentors (see Player Roles) while you're still in the problematic cube. Try the chat feature and ask if one of us can help you see what's going wrong/right. Another thing you can do is take a screen shot of the problematic piece (try to position the piece in 2D and 3D so we can see the problem, and post it here in the forum. Other EyeWirers will help you figure out what the problem is.

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. When you finish the tutorial, we can't give you a percentage of how accurate you are 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 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 so there will be fewer holes in the future.

How big are the cubes in EyeWire?

Each cube consists of 256 slices and is 4.1 µm x 4.1 µm x 5.6 µm (µm = micrometer = 10^-6 meters).

The Points System

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. Here is a complete breakdown of the points system.

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 do I get low points?

There are several reasons to get a low points on a cube. First, if the cube is already completely traced by the AI and you simply submit the cube, you earn 20 points in level 1 cubes or 40 points in level 2 cubes (if you wait the 2 minutes required for the full time bonus).

Second, If you have been very inaccurate (too much overcoloring or undercoloring), you automatically get 20 or 40 pts, but your accuracy will drop. If you are unsure with your tracing, you may ask for a mentor (see Player Roles) in chat for help, or you may skip the cube without any effect on your score or your accuracy. If you added something and got 20/40 points does not necessarily mean that you are wrong though, it may be that you found something others missed or that you did not include a merger others included, eventually the cube(s) are looked over by scouts/scythes or admins and if mistakes are in the consensus, scythes and admins can correct them. Your accuracy will increase/decrease when that happens according to what you traced on those reaped cubes.

What is a trailblazer?

The trailblazer is the first one to play and submit a cube.

How many points does the trailblazer get?

As the trailblazer you will get 25 points no matter how much work you did on the cube (or 50 points in a Starburst Amacrine Cell or a Lightning Cell). After two other players have traced the same cube, more points are added to your score as if you had worked on the cube normally.

How come I never get to trailblaze?

There are a couple of reasons. Trailblazing is assigned randomly so you may not have come across a cube that hasn't been done yet. Also you have to be approved to trailblaze. We only allow players with good track records (at least 80% accuracy) to trailblaze. Your scores are affected by how you compare to the other players and if the trailblazer makes a lot of a mistakes then it messes up everyone's score.

How to earn points by reporting mergers

You can earn 1000 points by reporting Mergers you spot in the overview. However, there are some guidelines. HQ does not award points for mergers found in cubes, only mergers found in the overview and reported with coordinates are eligible for a reward. (See the last 3 points in the how to section below for help with this) You can report a cube number in addition to coordinates but you at least need to report the cell name or cell number along with the coordinates. The first person to report the merger is the one who receives the 1000 points which is why it is best to email support@eyewire.org as soon as you've found one. You can split the points with another player if you found the merger together. If you intend to hunt for mergers please read this blog post for additional information.

How To

How do I start?

When you log into Eyewire for the first time, it will bring you to a tutorial. You must complete the tutorial before you can begin to play on your own. If you need a refresher on the tutorial you can select "reset tutorial" under the "settings" tab in your profile. If you choose to reset the tutorial you must play through the entire thing before you can resume regular game play.

How do I select something?

Click on it in the 2D. To deselect right click either in the 2D or 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.

You should also try changing planes in the 2D and checking the slices in that direction.

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.

How can I get some more help?

Try the tutorial videos posted on the blog or a few extra on youtube

How do I turn off the chat?

You can turn off chat by typing /silence into the chat window. To enable chat again type /silence into the chat window again and you should receive a message saying "Chat has been enabled." To mute just the sounds of the chat feature click on the speaker icon in the lower right corner of the screen.

How do I send a private message in chat?

Type /pm username your message.

How do I get information on the cube I'm working on?

Type /debug into the chat window.

How do I change my password?

Go to the Login page and enter your username. Below the password field is a link that says "Forgot?" Click that and you will be able to resend your password. If you do not have access to the email you registered with email support@eyewire.org and we will be happy to help you. Password.png

How do I move around the cell in the overview?

To move around the cell in the overview right click+drag. To center on a point in the overview alt+click.

How do I find coordinates of a point on the cell in the overview?

Drag the point of interest to the center of your screen, zoom in and type /debug into the chat window. The more zoomed in you are the more accurate your coordinates will be.

What is This?

A cell body viewed inside a cube
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 cubes are great for your accuracy!

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. Reporting these Mergers will help improve the AI. First, type /debug in your chat box to see the cube details. Then, look for advanced players (see Player Roles) who are online in chat and tell them the cube ID. To be sure, please email a screenshot of your cube, with its details to support@eyewire.org.

There's no way to tell which branch you were intended to trace, so please skip the cube after reporting it.

The branch I'm tracing has a hole in it, is that okay?

Yes, those holes are somewhat common. They are called Autapses.

What do the different name colors mean in chat?

Green is for players. Blue is for Scouts. Glowing blue is for Scythes. Glowing purple is for Moderators. Yellow is for Administrators. Magenta is for Mentors. There are a whole bunch of other colors in the chat! If you want to know what someone's specific color means, just type /who and then their username.

I already finished the tutorial, why do I have to do another one for Lightning Cells?

Lightning cells can be a little more difficult to trace than the other cells on EyeWire and require a little extra training because of this. However many players consider the extra training worth it since Lightning cubes are worth twice as much as other cubes.


I think there's a problem with the site.

You can report a problem in the bug section of 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?

Internet Explorer is not well tested because up until the latest version, WebGL hasn't been supported. 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. EyeWire works with all other major browsers. However, you may need to upgrade to the latest version if you have an old one.

How can I right-click on my Macbook trackpad?

You can enable a right click option in System Preferences > Trackpad. Select either bottom right or bottom left corner as "Secondary Click". This will enable you to right click in the selected corner and then pan/drag.

Can I play on my ipad/iphone/tablet?

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

I hit play, why don't I have a 3D cube?

You probably do, it's just hiding. Sometimes the cube is off-center. Press alt and click in the 2D. This centers the 3D where you clicked in the 2D If the cube does not appear you have a vector problem, which is discussed in this thread of the forum

I had the top score but I'm still green/the wrong color!

Usually the staff will update your color for you but sometimes things get hectic at EyeWire HQ. Gently remind an admin (a yellow person in chat) and they will happily correct the oversight.

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.