The foundation is currently supporting a computer modelling centre within the Oxford University Department of Experimental Psychology
Members of the university research centre are using 3D virtual reality software to embed brain models within simulated virtual environments. The use of 3D virtual reality allows careful control of the positions and velocities of visual stimuli, as well as the point of view of the brain model within the environment. We have found that using this kind of realistic sensory input is critical to how, for example, models of the visual system develop their synaptic connections. We are involved in modelling various areas of brain function, including vision, spatial representation, motor behaviour and navigation. However, these systems interact and hence so should the models. The use of 3D virtual reality will allow us to explore how models of different brain areas can work together given realistic sensory input. This approach will permit the integration of various sources of experimental data into a unified theoretical framework, in which complete brain models are embedded in simulated 3D environments. We believe that this approach will eventually become invaluable for guiding further empirical research in brain science.