Recent NYU research proposes that over evolutionary time, diet drives larger brain size in primates — not social pressures as originally thought. Learn how these findings might apply to humans, who like our primate cousins have exceptionally large brains, too!
What is Primate Quest?
Primate Quest: Food, Brains and Evolution is a public interactive exhibit based on new research from NYU’s Primatology Lab. You can find out your primate identity by exploring how diet relates to brain size.
This project was created with my amazing group members Vidia Anindhita, Ella Chung, and Haiyi Huang for a class at ITP at NYU called Playful Communication of Serious Research. The goal of the class is for graduate students to create an exhibit about new NYU research.
In our project, we have used these following tools
to transform the research into interactive games:
Kinect v2 for the diet interactive game.
Built with different levels and fun characters.
Built in brain interactive.
ITP SPRING SHOW 2018 TEASER
Our Researcher: Alex DeCasien
PhD student at NYU’s Primatology Lab
Alex conducted this new and groundbreaking research. She and her colleagues used larger data sets and newer methodologies now available to scientists. They discovered that primate brain size is predicted by diet but not sociality.
"Differences in diet, not sociality, explain differences in brain size between primate species."
Stage 1 – Conceptual Package
Conceptual design is very important for concept development. We decided the exhibition messages and goals, and the target audiences who were NYU students and researchers, public and also middle schoolers. We also planned the interactive pieces for the exhibit content ideas including the interactions, experiences, and the takeaways that the audiences would get from the exhibit.
Stage 2 – Schematic Package
We then delivered our Schematic Package. We invested time in planning the different pieces of our exhibit. We focused on the interaction design, physical and digital interface design, schedules, and cost. The Schematic Design helped us with visualizing the concepts, including spatial arrangements, artifact use, interactive displays, game flow, system diagrams, materials, schedule of work and also bill costs.
Stage 3 – Production
Over 6 weeks we managed to produce everything we planned and more!
We prioritized testing hardware and sensor options while building circuits, developing Unity codes, creating unique assets, fabricating enclosures, and writing exhibit text.
The goal of the Brain Interactive was to allow user to understand how brain size is related to what primates eat. For the Brain Interactive, user is able to adjust brain size physically and see the display change digitally.
We designed the Diet Interactive so that users could experience as if they were primates. We created an interactive game using Microsoft Kinect and Unity. This interactive game contained three levels that each level represented a type of primate. User would experience how primates eat using different tools and energy to eat different type of food. The game was made in Unity and C#.
Stage 4 – Play Testing
We conducted two intensive play testing with complete set ups in a classroom. We documented with video and written notes. Each time we consolidated user feedback into lists that we could prioritize and make actionable.
Meet the Team
UI/UX designer and researcher. Journey experience and game wireframes. Super Unity Coder with Kinect!
Our Editor. Game UI/UX wireframes and assets, Exhibit graphics and text, Arduino serial communication.
The Game Animator in Unity. Built the Brain Kioski. Study architecture but super fond of AfterEffects!
Co-creator, Concept development, Unity Coder and Exhibit Graphics Designer, photographer, videographer! This website coder!