Neural metabolism

Interactive installation about energy usage of the brain in different phases of consciousness. This was a group project, which I did together with Jeroen Gommers and Roel Kolsteren.

The assignment was to make a spatial model from a dataset that contained so many variables that the only way to visualise it would be 3 dimensional. The subject was the brain. We wanted to visualise the energy usage, in total and by region, of the brain in different stages of consciousness: complex task (for instance calculating), awake, sleep, coma, vegetative state and brain dead.

Metaphor for energy usage are the LEDs, that light up with a different brightness and frequency, corresponding to the energy usage per brain region and stage of consciousness. Long and bright light means high energy usage.

The user can navigate through the different stages of consciousness by twisting the knob. The interface is in volt-meter style, as a reference to energy usage, and it also shows the total energy use of the brain in the different stages. The different regions of the brain are distinguishable by the different surfaces in the copper frame, and the different colours of wiring. Each colour of wire leads to LEDs in a certain brain region. On the top of the box is explained which colour of wire belongs to which brain region and its corresponding functions. This way, the user can make his/hers own conclusions while watching the differences between brain regions and stages of consciousness. For example the frontal lobe, known for regulation emotion, is very active during sleep.