In Development: Encephaly

Goals: Teach functional brain anatomy by using VR and hand tracking to allow the user to both experience and treat neurological pathologies.
Made with: Unity, Leap Motion SDK, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Autodesk Maya, ZBrush, Affinity Designer

I’m very excited to announce Encephaly, the spiritual successor to Form & Function 3D. Currently in early alpha, Encephaly is a standalone VR experience with hand tracking.

At the core of the experience is an incredibly accurate anatomy viewer. The brain model was built from scratch to perfectly match a CT data set. But I wanted to make something more than just an anatomy viewer; something more than just Form & Function 2.0. I don’t think you learn much more from viewing anatomy in VR than you do off a monitor. I want to move away from a didactic approach to learning and  give the user something more meaningful and experiential. In Encephaly, the user experiences and treats a series of perceptual phenomena brought on by neurological pathologies including blindness, receptive aphasia, and synesthesia. By being both the doctor and the patient you’re immersed in the functional anatomy of the brain.

The inspiration for the experience came from one of the old Canadian Heritage Minutes that used to play on television when I was young. There was one about Dr. Wilder Penfield, who mapped out neuroanatomy responsible for epileptic seizures by probing the surface of the brain in an attempt to trigger sensory stimuli.

“I smell burnt toast”

What better way to learn neuroanatomy than doing the original experiments yourself? I’m a big proponent of the idea of learning science by doing science and think mobile VR has a lot of potential for giving students access to these kinds of experiences.

Stay tuned for more updates!