Rick and Morty Portal Gun WebVR - Source Code - How Teleportation Effects Brains
Experience Demo by clicking Here! 

Vive Controls: trigger to shoot, press and hold thumb pad while pointing at a portal to traverse. 

This project is hosted on glitch, so you can view the source code & remix your own experience HERE 

The main ideas of this demo:

1. Allow users to test how different environments effect their mood and memory by teleporting from one world to the other using a rick and morty's portal gun.

The Neuroscience

The seahorse shaped part of our brain known as the hippocampus, has long been known to be involved in memory and navigation. Specific cells seem to code for specific places and thus called space cells. I remember  asking my professors  after reading Jeff Hawkins's On Intelligence , whether it isn't more plausible that the hippocampus codes for something more abstract, a type of high level context. New research seem to be in line with this idea claiming the hippo-campus summarizes future events using a “predictive map.”  This approach looks at navigation as part of the more general problem of computing plans that maximise future reward. 

Interestingly enough ancient Greeks seemed to be aware of this connection between memory and navigation and used a technique called Memory Palaces, which used visual imagery of locations to memorize other information. You visualize a rout you know well and imagine seeing  a word/number/face in specific place on that rout, then you move to the next location on the known rout and connect imagine the next word/number/face. When you want to retrieve that piece of information visualize the same rout.  As biological organisms with 3D bodies, part of what we learn when we learn any information is where we are. This can be seen as an example of our "embodied cognition". All data received by the brain first went through the filter of the body. The model the brain creates includes where and in what state our body is in. 

VR is the first time we have the technology to instantly change the external context the brain is perceiving. We can teleport from being inside a room to being on top of the Everest. How will that effect our brain? Can we use this for education? Imagine learning a french under the Eiffel tower being to teleport back there every time you need to speak french. 

We would love to know what you think! Try out the demo and report back. 

Technical Stuff:

Getting it up and running:

This demo was designed for the vive or rift + motion controllers, but it is viewable on the platform of your choice by following the guide here: https://webvr.info . 

After following the steps and installing/navigating to a supported browser ( newest version of Firefox works out of the box now), navigate to this url and click the icon on the bottom of the WebVR window that looks like goggles to enter VR mode. 

A-Frame is a framework that makes creating VR experiences on the web really easy and fun, even if you don't know how to code. A-Frame School is a good introduction. 

Customize and create your own!

Every A-Frame scene comes with a visual inspector, so you can modify your scene through a graphical interface. To open the inspector: CTRL + ATL + i 

Click on an entity on the left hand of the inspector, and change attributes on the right side panel. See A-Frame School for a more in depth overview of the inspector. 


-To remix your own version of this WebVR experience, sign up for a glitch account, then go to the source code here, and click "remix your own". Glitch will automatically deploy your own version of this project that you can  live edit and hack all from the comfort of your browser! If you do this, please send us a link to what you made via twitter @VirtualBytesVR 

-You can download the portal gun 3D model below (rick-and-morty-portal-gun-model.dae), where you will find the portal gun model with basic colors and materials. The model was created in Blender.  The plasma animation & transparent material on the plasma dome were done in code. If you want to see how that is done, go to the source code hosted on glitch, and find ./my-folder/register-components.js and inspect portal-gun-plasma-spin  and portal-gun-transparent-dome components in that file.

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