The brain is a beautiful place. Thanks to today’s phenom tech, we’re able to explore it like never before. The combined efforts of hundreds of thousands of gamers have resulted in hundreds of nanoscale resolution 3D models of neurons and their associated circuitry. These models have inspired us to dream beyond Eyewire: what if we could teleport directly into the brain?
In 2013, we turned this exploratory idea into reality with Neurons in Space, a Virtual Reality (VR) experience that debuted at the TED Conference. This first VR ever shown at TED was a huge hit and catalyzed an ongoing side project at Eyewire HQ: visualizing the brain in ever more immersive experiences. It’s opening the door for cutting edge interactive scientific visualizations and igniting sparks among international audiences. FastCo even recently credited EyeWire with “making neuroscience into a playground for the hot tech du jour.”
We’re delighted to share that our latest VR experience, BrainVR, build in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces Group, debuts at Tribeca Film Festival’s Games and Media Summit on April 18. Amy Robinson will deliver a keynote presentation on the same day.
Visitors at the VIP release will use unreleased VR technology from HTC Vive as they explore two unique experiences:
An evolution from Eyewire’s TED VR experience, Neuron Safari immerses visitors deep in the retina. As a field of seventeen HD neurons slowly fades in, users begin to fly between their branches in the newly released Oculus Rift. Users float between branches while searching for pulsating white orbs. When one gets close enough, the orbs morph into visualizations showing glimpses behind the science revealing how the neurons were mapped.
The three pound organ sitting behind your eyes is nothing short of extraordinary. From the symphonic activity among billions of neurons emerges thoughts, feelings, and ultimately the perspective and personality that makes you, you. Over the course of a lifetime your brain makes a remarkable journey — from an infant unable to speak to a capable adult able to philosophize and implement great dreams.
Our brains have evolved a special affinity for storytelling. Through narrative we share experiences. Elegant linguistic and visual combinations teach lessons from the past and facilitate fantastically imagined futures. Stories connect us with friends and loved ones. In much the same way that technological revolutions like virtual and augmented reality are transfiguring how we tell stories, innovations in an entirely different field – neuroscience – are beginning to reveal how stories make their way into that most amazing source of self: the human brain.
Thanks to cutting edge artificial intelligence, nanoscale resolution imaging, seriously powerful computers, high resolution portable displays and unprecedented international collaboration, we are bringing a never-before-seen interactive immersive neuroscience visualization to Tribeca Film Festival on April 18, 2016 in partnership with MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces Group. In Virtual Reality, visitors will teleport into a foreign yet familiar world to explore a new pathway of narrative – the electrophysical connections among neurons.
Using HTC Vive, we’ll venture into a freshly discovered circuit of cells responsible in part for the brain’s ability to perceive motion – the very ebb and flow of story itself. Participants are invited to play with virtual objects and are challenged to trigger specific neural circuits which send movement information to the brain. They will explore a stunningly beautiful, cutting edge ideascape and be left with wonder and awe for the intricate complexity and nearly immeasurable wonder of the brain.
Get your tickets now for Tribeca Film Festival’s Games and Media Summit presented by Games for Change. Hope to see you in NYC!
Feature image by Alex Norton.