Spark A Memory
A downloadable game
Cells that fire together, wire together.
Summary: To bring somebody inside the brain, invoke a sense of wonder and beauty, and have them to come away with a better mental model of neural activity.
Spark a Memory uses VR to illustrate a basic model of a neural circuits. We were inspired primarily by Nikky Case's Neurotic Neurons. While their game teaches how neural connections can be created and destroyed, we've focused on how waves of activity travel through pre-existing networks.
We've designed Spark a Memory to give players a better mental model for how neurons "speak" to each other. Many simulations only include excitation -- the activation of one neuron by another. However, brains require as much (if not more) inhibition to constrain and shape their activity in order to function properly.
Brains are only useful if they interact with the outside world; a neural network disconnected from inputs or outputs is nothing but an abstract curiosity. After the player unlocks enough of the network, we play a video of the memory it encodes.
The current network was tuned to have waves of activity that are interesting to watch and discover. However, it could be expanded to illustrate storytelling through memories that the player unlocks.