Off the Lip 2016

13 October 2016

Off the Lip 2016

Throughout the year we, the 25 PhD students and almost 50 associated internal and external researchers at CogNovo, develop new ideas, run experiments, discuss results, and present them at conferences and workshops all over the world. All the time we are following and creating the most advanced ideas in our fields - you could almost imagine that as surfing the wave of knowledge. Once a year we want to show what we have learned back here in Plymouth and, to stay with the surfer lingo, we call this event "Off the Lip". Last year, at Off the Lip 2015, we invited to an academic conference and some world class researchers from the USA, India, Europe, and all over the UK followed our invitation. This year we want to show some of our results to everyone: workers, researchers, pupils, students, tourists, and shoppers from anywhere who happen to be in the Southwest between 20 October and 22 October 2016. This means: we invite YOU to participate in one of our workshops during the CogNovo Manufactory and to come to our CogNovo Bizarre Bazaar – or just do one of these things. We hope, that you will have a look at what we have done and discuss how you think we could do better. Both events together are this years "Off the Lip 2016".

We will run a number of workshops and interactive sessions during two evenings on 20 October and 21 October after work and school, starting from 6pm to 9pm. We will provide some light snacks, so hopefully only your mind will stay hungry, not your body. On Saturday 22 October, the first day of Half Term, we invite you, your friends, colleagues, and your family to meet in the Roland Levinsky Crosspoint at Plymouth University and exchange ideas, knowledge, and stories at the CogNovo Bizarre Bazaar.

"Off the Lip 2016" will be kicking off on Thursday 20/10 with a talk by Chris Harris:

Seeing is believing: You are not a camera

Talk by: Prof Chris Harris; Thursday 20/10, 6pm; Jill Craigie Cinema; Roland Levinsky Building; Plymouth University

Nothing in vision is as it seems. Vision has evolved over millions of years to benefit survival - not to represent physical reality. The basis of vision is the variety of opsin molecules in photoreceptors that underpin spatial and colour perception. In mammals, opsins have been genetically lost under environmental pressure from dinosaurs, but also gained when human vision evolved about 60 million years ago, presumably to allow us to eat ripe leaves. At the same time the primate fovea evolved, a retinal region where photoreceptors and ganglion cells are densely packed to provide very acute vision. Foveas are evolutionary expensive. They require an endless stream of saccadic eye movements to point the eyes at visual regions of interest. Our brains play a perceptual trick so that we see the world as steady even though the image on the retina is constantly changing. Foveas develop in a complex sequence of embryological and post-natal cascade of retinal and brain developments. Sometimes genetic or congenital abnormalities occur, and the fovea may not function normally. Amazingly, this leads to life-long 'infantile' nystagmus, where the eyes oscillate back and forth. Yet, people with infantile nystagmus do not see the world as moving, and indeed they do not know that their eyes are moving. This may be why we cannot cure them. The more we learn about vision, the more we realise nothing is as it seems.

Light snacks and refreshments will be provided.


For most of the workshops it is required that you sign up (for free) beforehand. Please do so on the Manufactory website or on the event page.

Help spreading the news

Please tell all your friends, neighbours, colleagues, and families about this event. You can print a leaflet (see link on the left) and drop it in your neighbours mailbox, like our events on facebook, or retweet our tweets. Thank you.