Another Reason Why Virtual Reality Doesn’t Work Yet
With the Oculus Rift and Google Glass on the horizon, topics like Virtual Reality are mainstream once again. Lots of people have attempted VR setups to varying degrees of success, and most people generally agree they’ve fallen far short of the dream. A new paper in Science proposes another theory I’ve never heard before about the brain’s “cognitive mapping” functions in the hippocampus. The paper is behind a paywall, but io9 gives the cliff-notes version:
Inside our brain’s hippocampus we have what are called place cells. These specialized cells help us build a “cognitive map” of our surroundings — mental representations which allow us to orientate ourselves in our spatial environment.
These neurons have been observed to fire like crazy whenever a rat has to go about the task of figuring out where it is in the world. And if the rat in an entirely new location altogether, it has to create a new cognitive map from scratch.