Baycrest’s brain exhibit “My Virtual Dream” travels to the Ontario Science Centre


Toronto, ON –
Baycrest Health Sciences’ dazzling brain science exhibit from 2013 Scotiabank Nuit Blanche will be on show at the Ontario Science Centre’s BRAINFest, Jan. 17-18. 

Poster_bgd_imageMy Virtual Dream is an innovative and interactive live performance experience at the intersection of science, art and music.  The installation will enable participants to use their brain waves to communicate with each other through an immersive audio and visual expression that will be projected onto video screens.   

“Participating at BRAINFest is a great way to share Baycrest’s renowned strengths in cognitive neuroscience in a highly artistic and interactive way with the public,” says Dr. Randy McIntosh, vice-president of Research and Director of Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute. “Baycrest wishes to thank the Ontario Brain Institute for bringing My Virtual Dream into the Ontario Science Centre and to MaRS Innovation as our key collaborative partner.”

The concept for My Virtual Dream is inspired by an ongoing international project led by Dr. McIntosh and the Rotman to build a virtual, functional brain – a research and diagnostic tool that could one day revolutionize brain healthcare.

The installation, created by Baycrest and the University of Toronto for Nuit Blanche 2013, was a huge hit with fans of the festival. It also represented an extraordinary neuroscience experiment that explored how people can collectively synchronize their brain waves to co-create a multi-sensory environment that merges art, science and technology. In a single night, Rotman researchers collected brain data from over 500 people who signed on to be research subjects.

“We wanted to push the boundaries of both art and science while acquiring unprecedented amounts of neuroscience data in a highly engaging setting,” said Natasha Kovacevic, research manager at the Rotman and artistic director of My Virtual Dream.

Participants wear brain-computer interface headsets provided by InteraXon and use focus and mental relaxation states to complete a science game and create a stunning array of visuals and music. The brain data collected at Nuit Blanche has yielded insights about how the brain learns, and a science paper is currently under peer review for publication about this massive one night neuroscience experiment.

My Virtual Dream will be located in the Imperial Oil Auditorium, Level 2, at the Ontario Science Centre for BRAINFest and open to participants from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.

Update! A peek inside My Virtual Dream at the Ontario Science Centre on Saturday, Jan. 17:
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BrainFest-400BRAINFest complements the Ontario Science Centre’s BRAIN: The Inside Story, an exhibition on tour from the American Museum of Nature, which runs until March 29, 2015. The exhibition features the latest news in neuroscience, highlighting the brain’s surprising ability to rewire itself in response to experience, disability or trauma, and showcases new technologies that researchers use to study the brain and treat conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

2015 My Virtual Dream Tour
My Virtual Dream will be travelling to cities around the world. The tour is part of the global grand challenge to map the human brain. The goal is to invite the public to contribute to the scientific and creative process that drives innovation in brain health.

“The Virtual Dream tour is a ‘living lab’ that engages the public, fuels science, creates art and educates while it entertains,” says Richard Tavener, executive producer of the Virtual Dream tour.

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For more information on BRAINFest (Jan. 17-18) and to purchase admission tickets online, go to www.OntarioScienceCentre.ca. For information on the Virtual Dream tour in 2015, contact richardtavener@gmail.com.

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For more information on this press release, please contact:

Kelly Connelly
Senior Media Officer
Baycrest Health Sciences
416-785-2432
kconnelly@baycrest.org

Andrea Mus
Media Relations Officer
Ontario Science Centre
416-696-3191
Andrea.Mus@osc.on.ca