I believe that the principle of Embodied Cognition is probably one of the most significant and important concepts to understand about virtual reality. Cognitive science researchers have been connecting the dots the importance of our bodies when it comes to perception, the subjective construction of reality, and how we process and think about information. We use our entire body and surrounding environment in our cognitive processes, and virtual reality is bringing our entire bodies into computing in a way that takes full advantage of the insights coming from embodied cognition research.


EleVR is a VR research collective that has declared 2017 as the “Year of the Body.” “Mathemusician” and virtual reality philosopher Vi Hart was a self-proclaimed ‘body skeptic’ seeing it as an inconvenience to take care of in the pursuit of higher forms of beauty with math and music, but after some preliminary experiments with embodied visualizations of physics she started to have a direct experience of the power of Embodied Knowledge.

I had a chance to catch up with EleVR’s Vi Hart and M Eifler to hear about their VR experiments and research into embodied cognition from creating interactive math museums built around 3D Venn Diagrams, visualizing hyperbolic space, and exploring the boundaries of container schemas and metaphors for understanding the concept of home and a place to rest.

Venn Diagram Museum

Hyperbolic Space in VR

Real Virtual Physics

Check out my previous episodes about Embodied Cognition:

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Music: Fatality & Summer Trip

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  • N’attend Giroux

    Thank you guys for summing up many of my thoughts on the pedagogical potential of VR in a brilliant way. All of this is headed in a very exciting direction, for art, science and society as a whole…

  • OgreTactics

    I know this is getting redundant, but why are universities and researches doing the conception job that corporations aren’t capable of doing?

    • Rafael Lino

      corporations have historically almost never been at the forefront of research. They take it from universities and public funding and make it into products. See how Google took a research project on self-driving (and from what I heard, their search engine comes from a paper they read as well)

      • OgreTactics

        Guess I got used to Steve Jobs. Since he’s death I think we can clearly say that you right, it was never natural for corporation to do any fucking job.

        • Rafael Lino

          Steve designed stuff really well (the best assessment I’ve ever read of him was that he was one of the best Human Computer Interaction Designers of all time) but if you look at Apple technology you can always trace it back to public funding as well.

          But yes you’re right, it was an innovative company. one of the reasons for that was that Steve would do product-led R&D which I still think was a brilliant idea. Basically he would build entire divisions of the company so they would deliver a specific product, instead of researching whatever they felt like (see Microsoft Research). And that led to huge breakthroughs.