The Bernstein Focus: Neurotechnology (BFNT) Frankfurt is centered on visual perception, one of the most important and most promising areas of computational neuroscience and neurotechnology.
The central goal of the initiative is to understand the principles linking the neural and the cognitive level of brain and mind and to apply and exploit these principles for the development of new cognitive vision technology.
In contrast to single investigations directed at isolated functionalities of the visual system, we see it as decisive to make a massive, bundled attempt to understand the principles of neural architecture and communication which coordinate a multitude of mutually supportive visual functions into a full cognitive vision system. Under the guidance of principles studied in the development of vision in biological systems, emphasis will be on autonomous learning from the extensive data streams that result from embodied interactions with the natural environment.
Our initiative involves substantial efforts in the area of massive computing, including the development of specific new hardware inspired by biological and neural principles. The proposed Bernstein Center will build upon a range of methodologies and disciplines established in Frankfurt, including neurophysiology, developmental psychology, computational neuroscience, information theory, statistical data analysis, dynamical system theory, computer vision, robotics, high performance computing and more, and will be complemented by three new professorships in FIAS and the Department of Computer Science and Mathematics.
Collaboration with several industrial partners will set pathways for technology transfer. Specifically, the results of the project are expected to provide significant technological advances to the areas of sensor systems for robots, for surround sensors in driver assistance systems, vision-based security systems, traffic control and surveillance, and in many other areas where perception tasks in complex visual environments have to be solved. New tracks in graduate education, new courses and a series of summer schools as well as a public software library will foster broad dissemination of results.