My Virtual Dream is going on tour
Baycrest Health Sciences’ dazzling brain science exhibit, My Virtual Dream is on the move in 2015.
The Virtual Dream Tour will travel across North America. The tour is part of the global grand challenge to map the human brain. The goal is to invite and incite 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.
The concept for My Virtual Dream is inspired by an ongoing international project led by Dr. Randy McIntosh, vice-president of Research and Director of Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute, 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 the Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2013 event, 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 more than 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.