The Founder's Journey


VR and the Brain

An exploration of neuroscience, perception, and immersion

9.s52 (UG) and 9.s915 (G)
6 units (3-1-2), Spring 2024

Wednesdays, 2:00pm to 5:00pm (studio), plus
Tuesdays, 7pm to 8pm (lab)

First session is Wed Feb 7 at 2pm

Instructors: Seth Riskin, Pawan Sinha, Ken Zolot
Teaching Assistant:
Aubrey Simonson
plus visiting guests

Virtual Reality (VR) has seen major advances in recent years. Headsets are engineered to couple with the visual brain and communicate along all channels of visual information. In this special subject, we will explore how VR “speaks” with the brain’s early visual processing and consider applications to perceptual learning, low-vision augmentation, and other therapeutic uses.

We’ll convene a project-based studio, to foster collaboration among students of engineering, neuroscience, visual arts/design, and other fields. We'll combine analog light/perception studies (demos and illusions) with VR experiments and experiences to examine and evaluate VR as a tool for targeted stimulation of early perceptual processing. Key questions: can stimuli designed and delivered through headsets strengthen neural pathways for improved acuity, stereopsis, color and contrast sensitivity? Can VR be used as a teaching and learning tool, raising user awareness of perceptual processes? Can simulation/headset be leveraged for communication between low-vision and fully-sighted experiences? The semester will conclude with a project showcase.

To request a spot in the seminar, please share your information via this form:

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