How can the work of research biologists be applied to virtual reality experiences? What if a social science researcher teamed up with a team of AR developers? What happens when you take virtual reality expertise and apply it to neuroscience problems?
The XR Brain Jam is an innovative week of workshops and collaborations that pairs researchers with xr game developers and digital creatives, and charges them with exploring the intersection of their domains together.
Teams work together for one week to learn, discuss, explore, and create experiences that tackle questions like these. And when it’s all done, their work and lessons learned are shared at the Games for Change Festival.
XR developers and digital creatives interested in creating XR experiences that drive meaningful impact are paired with domain experts focused on addressing a specific issue (medical, environmental, education, etc). These cross-discipline teams are led through a structured workshop experience designed to accelerate the prototyping process. This workshop period is followed by a multi-day jam, where teams develop a working prototype of their concept.
Then teams are invited to share their work with a curated panel of experts. These experts are chosen from a variety of fields to give teams maximum value feedback, including funding, design, distribution, marketing, and development.
The 2021 XR Brain Jam spans two weekends, from June 19th to June 27th. The first weekend, June 19-20, will be a series of workshop and team events. During the following week, teams will work on their own to lay groundwork for their development. The actual jam work period runs from Friday June 25 to Sunday June 27th.
The prototypes created at the XR Brain Jam will be presented at the 2021 Games for Change Festival on July 12th-14th.
The past three Brain Jams have had teams tackle a variety of interesting areas of research, including neuroscience, teen anxiety, grief, sensory processing, Parkinson’s disease, physics education, mosquito population management, and traumatic brain injuries.
For the 2021 jam, we will be announcing the areas of focus in April and asking attendees to indicate the topic(s) they would be most interested in working on. These 10 Topics will be drawn from input from our researcher applicants, our event partners, and the 4 areas of focus of the 2021 G4C Festival:
We are looking for a diverse group of subject matter experts across our target problem spaces. If you are a researcher, scientist, educator, graduate student, or other expert working in any of our areas of focus and are excited about applying cutting-edge interactive technology to your discipline, please apply!
If you work as a digital creative writing code, making art, designing audio, managing dev projects, telling stories, or designing game experiences, you are welcome to apply. Each year we have a mix of studio-based teams that apply together as well as individual applicants. Creators will be paired with other disciplines to build robust development teams.
Some of the institutions and company affiliations of previous XR Brain Jam attendees:
The Graduate Center (CUNY) · NYU CREATE Lab · Iowa State University · Teacher’s College · Object Normal · NeuroStorm Studios · SlingshotVR · VR Institute of Health · SoundVR · play4REAL Lab, Yale Center for Health & Learning Games · Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy @ UCF · University of Washington · Facetank · Schell Games · Universidad de los Andes · Knight Lab @ Northwestern University · The Glimpse Group · Immersive Health Group · Normal VR · Stuido Studios · Ubisoft · USC · Georgia Tech Research Institute · Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory · Mokuni Games · THiNK Immersive · Media Rez · SIR-VR
Experience with XR technologies specifically (virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, input peripherals, etc) is not required to participate in the XR Brain Jam. One of the jam’s goals is to expand exposure to this technology to researchers and developers. However, if you have experience working with these platforms, particularly for tech developers, this is a plus.
Normally, we provide XR hardware for teams’ use during the jam. This year, because the XR Brain Jam will be held online, it will be important for teams to work with platforms that their members have access to during development as we will not be able to ship hardware to each participant. We are also encouraging teams to focus more on desktop, web, and mobile-based AR applications this year.
Can’t Join us this year?