How odd, I thought the visual cortex also works with patterns akin to Fourier transforms and grid detections instead of being "a map" (well, as soon as you move away from light detectors). Hopefully this will bring accurate neuro-connected prosthesis soon!
The encoding of information in rhythmic neural activity was described by Jerome Lettvin at MIT in the 80s. I did my undergrad thesis on a computer model of neural network behavior that was expected to generate rhythmic behavior back in 1988. Every other model at the time - and all the ones I've come across since - averaged away the neural firing rhythms by computing neural "activation," or average firing rate. Differing rhythms with the same number of firing events per second will yield the same activation. Cool to see this result!
I wish there was a more accessible report than a press release, but this looks interesting: generate non-periodic motion by combining multiple periodic signals. OTOH, that's not as different from what happens in the reverse direction in the early visual cortex: create complex scene descriptions by combining the responses of many tuned detectors. In other words, frequency-domain combination plays a critical role in both perception and action. Cool.
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