Viperlib: a web-based library of images in visual perception

Peter Thompson, Rob Stone, Elaine Pollard


Can you remember what life was like before PowerPoint? In the space of a few years, all types of presentations—lectures, seminars and conference talks—have been transformed. Lecturers around the globe have struggled to transform their
lecture courses from battered overhead projectors and cracked slides into shiny bright (and often garish) presentations. Conferences too have been transformed, and now the lap-top and data projector are essential for every presentation.
This technology allows a whole range of new possibilities in presentations: colour of course; embedded film clips; sound files; animations and even boring lists can fly in from every direction. The problem is that you have to create the animations; find the pictures and draw the diagrams—and this all takes an enormous amount of time. However we noticed that some people have found that time and we found ourselves listening to talks and making a mental note to ask the speaker for that image or that film clip. It was then that the idea came to us that it would be wonderful if there was a searchable central resource, freely available for educational use, where we could collect images and animations that would drop into presentations. Perhaps one reason why the idea appealed to us was that we work in the area of visual perception—the study of the visual system, its anatomy and physiology, and all aspects of our processing of visual information. Unsurprisingly pictures are particularly important in this area: pictures of the visual portions of the brain; pictures of visual stimuli used in experiments; and, of course, pictures of visual effects like visual illusions. So it was that the idea for the idea for ‘Viperlib’ was born.

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