2022 AMI Online Salon

Timekeepers of the Brain

Project Details

  • Entrant Name:  Nan-Linda Ding
  • Client: Faculty Advisor: Stuart Jantzen
  • Copyright: Nan-Linda Ding, 2022
  • Medium/software used: Autodesk Maya, Adobe Illustrator
  • Final presentation format: Print, Journal Cover
  • Primary Audience: Educated General Public

Project Description

Time-keeping neurons in the hippocampal region of the brain of rodents have long been known to play a key role in memory. While previous attempts at locating these cells in humans were unfruitful, a recent study succeeded in both localizing these specialized neurons and elucidating the mechanism by which they track the progression of time. This editorial cover was inspired by the corresponding publication and was designed with the purpose of generating intrigue on the topic. The target audience of this piece is an educated general public who would see the image on the cover of a popular scientific magazine. This 3D piece employs a simple visual metaphor for time through the use of an hourglass shape for the constructed network of interconnected neurons. Continuing with the hourglass analogy, a glass-like material was chosen for the neurons. The nerve impulses between the neurons and cell nuclei were represented as lights and used to provide internal lighting to the model while drawing visual attention. Altogether, the chosen design elements of the composition serve to indicate the important role that hippocampal neurons play in our perception of time