Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science

Resources

Consciousness Science at Sussex is supported by a wide range of technical resources

Brain imaging

The Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science performs functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) experiments using the MRI resources available at Clinical Imaging Sciences Centre (CISC), Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS).  Accompanying our Siemens AVANTO 1.5T scanner (with recently upgraded headcoil), we have MRI-compatible EEG, NIRS, and eye-tracking devices. A particular strength of our MRI setup is the availability of wide range of MRI compatible physiological measurement devices including pulse oximetry, and respiratory and cardiovascular monitoring.  We also have additional EEG systems located in the School of Psychology (EGI and Neuroscan). Brain stimulation experiments are performed using TMS (MagStim) and tDCS/tACS.

Combined imaging and brain stimulation

In 2013 we installed, in a new dedicated shielded laboratory space, a combined EEG/TMS system (ANT Neuro).  This will boast a 64-channel EEG system with a dedicated MagStim TMS brain stimulation and VISOR navigation, allowing precise TMS targeting of brain regions based on individual structural MRIs. 

EEG/TMS Lab

Photographs courtesy of Barry Falk

Substitutional Reality

Unlike the conventional computer-graphic based VR environments, the substitutional reality system provides us 'real' experiences thanks to the immersive technologies and a panoramic video camera. Using the videos recorded by a panoramic camera (Pointgrey, Ladybug3) projected through a VR goggle (Oculus Rift) , fully realistic and live experiences can be reproduced in lab. These novel technologies will be used not only for basic consciousness studies, but also the psycho-therapies and social psychologies etc. 

Augmented Reality System : Combination of a depth-sensing infra-red camera (Microsoft Kinect) and Augmented Reality technologies allow us to manipulate a 3D image of our body-part in real time fashion through a stereoscopic head mounted display (Oculus Rift). The system is  used for various studies on the body perception by experimentally manipulating visual properties of the hand, typically exemplified by 'Rubber Hand Illusion' experiment.

SR Lab

Photographs courtesy of Barry Falk

Computation

Sackler Centre scientists engage in large-scale data analysis and simulation modelling, requiring state-of-the-art computation resources.  As well as high performance desktop machines and Dell Blade/Server clusters, we are pioneering developments in GPGPU (general purpose graphical processing unit) computation, both for simulation of very large detailed neural models, and for analysis of high dimensional data sets.  Our current machine hosts 3 nVIDIA Fermi GPUs providing several hundred parallel cores linked by high bandwidth memory.

Analysis

Sackler Centre co-director Anil Seth has developed a widely used MATLAB toolbox for analysis of causal (or 'directed functional' ) connectivity (see option on left for more details).  His toolbox is based on the concept of Granger causality, according to which a signal X causes Y if X precedes and helps predict Y.  A major update to this toolbox has just been released and can be downloaded here

Experiment

At the Sackler Centre we develop novel experimental tools for practicing consciousness science.  One such tool, the enactive torch (see left), enables a unique form of 'perception at a distance' allowing us to study perceptual adaptation and substitution.