Neurons 'broadcast to', but also 'ping', each other

At least this is what the latest research suggests. (Link.)

An excerpt

Neurons communicate through rapid electrical signals that regulate the release of neurotransmitters, the brain's chemical messengers. Once transmitted across a neuron, electrical signals cause the juncture with another neuron, known as a synapse, to release droplets filled with neurotransmitters that pass the information on to the next neuron. This type of neuron-to-neuron communication is known as evoked neurotransmission.

However, some neurotransmitter-packed droplets are released at the synapse even in the absence of electrical impulses. These miniature release events—or minis—have long been regarded as 'background noise', says Brian McCabe, Director of the Laboratory of Neural Genetics and Disease and a Professor in the EPFL Brain Mind Institute.

But several studies have suggested that minis do have a function—and an important one.

In 2014, for example, McCabe and his team showed that minis are important for the development of synapses.

If neurons in the brain were a network of computers, 'evoked releases' would be packets of data, whereas 'minis' would be 'pings'—brief electronic signals that determine if there is a connection between two computers, McCabe says.

"Minis are the pings that neurons use to say 'I am connected.'"


a bit more

increasing the frequency of minis kept synapses intact and preserved the motor ability of middle-aged flies at levels comparable to those of young flies. "Motor ability declines in all aging animals, including humans, so it was a delightful surprise to see that we could change that," McCabe says.

Researched by Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland.

I could say this very post of mine is also a kind of 'ping' because I am trying to feel connected to other Snappers while I am working on a short, 5 min long ('Lightning talk') presentation for the (my first) SnapCon(-ference), that will be about my current pet project: my 'baby' (eccentric, therefore not a 'baby' anymore, but more like a 'teenager', I guess) Text Editor.

I wish I could discuss it, but I guess I need to wait until the conference...

Can I post about some problems that I have with it recently?

My project is a 'teenager'. Help me ! :- )

Are you really asking for permission? Whom?
It will be easier to find a competent helper if you ask a questions...

I guess I am. It may be silly, but I was not sure if it is or not... So now I will take your question as saying "you don't need one" and will ask a question.

I have recently tried to spice up my project by an additional sprite (named "paper").

The idea was to gradually rotate the paper, making the text be written (rendered) within the rotating boundaries.

But now, when rendering the text, a letter or two of them, near the boundary does not fall completely on the 'paper', while the 'typewriter' (I named it 'Editor' sprite) moves horizontally across the stage. See the picture below.

One idea is to deprecate the 'paper' and replace it by spatially complementary 'non-paper' sprite to sense when not to write the text, yet (or not anymore, when on the other side of the paper). But in this case, the non-paper is much larger sprite and the Editor would need to start the horizontal movement from far left, if it starts from "left of" it, as does now from the "left of paper".

Maybe the "ray length" block could be useful? To measure the current distance from the Editor ('typewritter') sprite position to the paper's (or non-paper's) closest boundary, but the problem is that it probably measures the distance if it is not within the paper sprite, I guess.

Thanks for any ideas.

Paper can have an irregular shape, so you use a "wandering" sensor to check boundaries instead of analytical geometry?
The sensor is a pixel-wide, font height, line with a center at the lowest pixel? So checking if it does not touch the color of the stage should be sufficient for the left edge. But for the right side, you should check in advance if the next letter will be not touching stage.

Editor would need to start the horizontal movement from far left,

"left of paper" is the vertex position, not the edge, so there seems to be no substantial optimization.

If you look for optimization, edge positions can be stored and used as a hint for the next cycle.

As a substitute for touching color, you can use "hue at editor" .

To measure the current distance from the Editor ('typewritter') sprite position to the paper's (or non-paper's) closest boundary,
measures the distance if it is not within the paper sprite

All measurements can be made from Stage edge.
If the sensor at Stage edge touches "paper" it is clear that the paper extends beyond the boundary. I'm not sure what to do. Stop writing at Stage boundary or pretending is written on an invisible part?

What about a line follower algorithm to detect entire boundaries before writing? At SnapCon 2020 was a presentation of a car following the path.

Thank you for all the ideas and clarifications. They are appreciated.