Gaming in VR is great, but there’s huge potential for the tech to be used for productivity too. One early stab at that is Noda, a mind mapping tool for the Vive and Rift.

A mind map is a type of diagram which aims to show visual and spatial relationships between concepts. Mind maps can be useful as a form of note-taking, studying, project planning, brainstorming, and more. Traditional mind maps are two dimensional but Noda intuitively adds a third dimension thanks to the power of natural input via the Rift and Vive.

Priced at $10 for the Early Access version on SteamVROculus Home, and Viveport, the program debuted early this year with a basic of features to start; a recent update brings a surprisingly mature take on data input with a “Floating Tablets” tooltip that uses a unique stylus-like pointer to make typing easy on the program’s virtual keyboard with VR motion controllers. The tablet also allows you to tag, color, and resize nodes and more.

Users can easily draw lines to connect nodes, import lists of names from TXT and CSV files, images as JPG, PNG, or BMP, and save and load their mind maps. Though there’s only a small number of reviews on Steam so far, all are positive, with one reviewer saying they used the tool to map out ideas for a Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

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Noda appears to be truly in Early Access, and the developer doesn’t intend to claim the program launch-ready “until the experience is comprehensive to the point of being a stand-alone productive application, for whatever purpose that turns out to be.”

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Get Schwifty!

    I see a lot of potential for tools like this with mobile devices and project management for instance.

  • Sponge Bob

    mind mapping my arse
    grab vc money if you can

  • Initial reaction is ‘Why?’ – surely 2D with a keyboard is much simpler and easier to see the whole map. Will try it to see if I’m persuaded

    • Brian Eppert

      Good question Neil!

      Here’s an answer:

      TLDR: Infinite Canvas, Spatial Memory, Thinking in motion

    • Having had a similar idea for brainstorming, the answer is: because 2D is too limiting… with this you can have an enormous amount of nodes and see them in 3D. Furthermore if they add multiplayer, you can brainstorm with people in the same place

  • Ryan Shearer

    Glad someone is working on this sort of thing. There is so much potential, especially for memory improvement, being able to use this in a similar way to the way people use the imaginary house routine to memorize cards. Adding more connections to things to make them easier to memorize and conceptualize. It might not be much now but imagine if we could use something like this to help us visualize our thoughts. If we could walk through our ideas symbols and memories like a house. Just as people do when they memorize cards when they attach them to other things except you could actually have more data from actually being there instead of it just being in you imagination.I would love if someone done an experiment using that technique for memory in vr and seeing how effective it was in comparison.