The Wellcome Collection has launched Axon a free online game in which people can explore the anatomy of the brain, clicking on protein targets to grow a neuron, ahead of the opening of its new exhibition ‘Brains: The mind as matter’.
In the fast-paced game, players are set the task of making as many of the brain’s 100 trillion connections as they can and challenges them to grow their neurons as long as possible. Climbing through the tissue, players will compete with rival neurons to form the longest connection they can.
The game is highly addictive as you seek to improve your previous attempt at growing neurons, but also educational as at the end you will find out what type of cell you’ve grown – cleverly linked to the corresponding Wikipedia page. On our first try we finished with a basket cell, before managing to grow a trunk dorsal root sensory neuron.
‘Brains: The mind as matter exhibition seeks to explore what humans have done to brains in the name of medical intervention, scientific enquiry, cultural meaning and technological change.
Featuring over 150 artefacts including real brains, artworks, manuscripts, artefacts, videos and photography, Brains follows the long quest to manipulate and decipher the most unique and mysterious of human organs, whose secrets continue to confound and inspire.
‘Brains’ asks not what brains do to us, but what we have done to brains, focusing on the bodily presence of the organ rather than investigating the neuroscience of the mind.’
Brains: The mind as matter – 29 March – 17 June 2012