Collaborating with the mind

-  An Educational Tool  -

Play the Game


The Cornell Box is a captivating concept for storytelling and narrative. It provides an instant visual representation of a narrative. When I began to design a Cornell Box that represents the most interesting and important things to me, my mind immediately started wandering. With so many stories filling my mind, the main characters at that moment—my neurons—were firing up. This insight further developed my concept of the Cornell Box, which I also call "The Realm of the Mind".

Narrative behind the project

The realm of the mind offers a glimpse into the personal conscious and unconscious realms. It also simply demonstrates how the neurons in our brains communicate. When people interact and engage with this project, it builds a basic understanding of how the words and pictures we internalize significantly impact the wiring of our neuronal circuits, focusing mainly on the Reticular Activating System (RAS), which acts as a filter in our brain.

Humans are inherently driven toward pleasure and away from pain, toward the familiar and away from the unfamiliar. This is also why, in the age of the internet and social media, our society has become more polarized. How we nurture our brains is up to each individual, but the words and images you absorb will collaborate with your body unconsciously, ultimately shaping who you are.

Design Process

First skecth of my neuron character

Building 3D model of the character

Using geometric nodes to build the dendrites of the neuron

3D modeling - Blender

This is the first sketch I created for my neuron character. I then used Blender to create the 3D model by employing geometric nodes and the rigging system, forming its special armature. Based on that, I designed various animations for the neuron character in Blender.

Interactive design - Unity

After finishing my 3D model in Blender, I imported the character along with the animation into Unity. It’s a quite challenging process, since Blender and Unity have different coordinate systems and settings, but it is definitely worth doing. If there is an environment that I would like to represent my mind, it would definitely be nature, which is my fundamental spring-well.

The most challenging part of this project in Unity is learning how to work with settings and C# simultaneously. As a first-time Unity user, I spent a lot of time figuring out how to navigate this new system. The journey was not easy but quite rewarding. Since I told my brain that I needed to understand how to better utilize the power of Unity, it eventually collaborated with me. Even though this current project is imperfect, with many details still needing improvement and some issues needing to be fixed, I enjoyed all the struggles along the way, and all the support and help I received from our amazing ITP community.

Play the Game here:

Further Development

I might integrate physical computing and paper engineering later for further development of this project. I would like to consider this project an educational program for all ages, which can also be considered as an extension of my ‘root’ sculpture. People can use a pre-printed brain template pattern on paper to build a 3D brain model. Combined with a preprogrammed electronic board, it can light up different areas of the paper brain while interacting with the program. This helps to better demonstrate which areas of our brain are active in relation to certain tasks and how they interplay with each other. It might help people better understand how we can collaborate more effectively with our brains.