posted in: webVR | 0

Hypernom is kind of like 4-dimensional pacman, for VR on your phone or browser.

After many months of it sitting around mostly finished, we’ve finally finished the final touches on hypernom.com, put the paper on arxiv.org, and updated the documentation on github. It made its debut in the BRIDGES 2015 art exhibition, and the corresponding talk is now available on YouTube.

Hypernom.com works awesomely on a variety of phones, browsers, and VR headsets, so go eat some four dimensional shapes!


It kind of all started with a non-VR project Henry Segerman and I did a couple years ago, regarding four-dimensional symmetry groups and monkeys (see paper).


We brought some of this work to VR last year in video form, with 4Dmonkey.gif (see related blog post). Obviously the next step was to properly embed the viewer in the 3sphere, by doing some proper 4D graphics. So we collaborated with Marc ten Bosch, who wrote a 4D shader that we could use in our VR framework. Add some Andrea Hawksley magic, and we even had something that ran reasonably fast, and on a variety of devices!

monkeys.hypernom.com was born, and remains one of our most popular works (also on github). And then… well, it would be a shame to have this great 4D graphics shader and not also do all the regular polychora (4D analogs to the platonic solids), and, well, as long as VR headsets give their orientation data as a quaternion, it just seems obvious that one should map this data to the 3sphere (because it maps so nicely as a double-cover) to do movement, and of course as you move around you should carve out the cells to be able to see more of the space and see how much of the orientation space you’ve covered…

So you see, it was all very obvious and natural.

The piece in the art exhibition for Monkeys, “Monkey See, Monkey Do,” included 3d printed sculptures, the VR monkeys.hypernom.com 4D monkey experience, and an interface to change which symmetry group you see in VR, made using laser-cut polyhedra with capacitive sensors.

The piece for Hypernom included projected images and a big red button that you could hit to cycle through the 6 different regular 4-dimensional polytopes.

There is a nice article about it on Aperiodical.

Emily filmed the talk in spherical (below). It is also available as a regular rectangle. You can find Henry’s talk slides here.

The end!