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Go with the Glow: Inside Life VR’s ‘Lumen’

A nonlinear interactive experience included in the LIFE VR mobile app for iOS and Android, and on Steam for the HTC Vive, Lumen allows users to relax while exploring a bioluminescent forest. The VR experience begins with a short breathing exercise and then places the viewer in a luminous, multicolored woodland where he or she can interact with the sights and sounds of the environment.

Users stimulate tree growth, choose a hue from the sky’s aurora display to customize the tranquil setting, and navigate a lush forest floor, giving colorful life to the dark and sparse landscape. The soundtrack, created by composer Peter Timberlake, evolves with each interaction.

Created in collaboration with VR neuroscience advisor Walter Greenleaf, Ph.D., Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab and Framestore VR Studio, Lumen uses visual coding that applies nature’s principles of repetition, symmetry and spacing. “Procedural generation was the perfect process for Lumen’s creative concept of meditation and rejuvenation,” explains Johannes Saam, senior software developer, Framestore.

“The cyclical aspect of existence is in there, from birth to regeneration,” adds Aron Hjartarson, executive creative director, Framestore. “We wanted to reward the user for allowing their focus to put them into a meditative state. Wherever you put your attention, something positive happens to the world around you.

“Just by the way you interact with the world, you can make your own version of the experience, and every experience is unique,” he concludes.

To watch the full experience and explore more virtual reality content, download the LIFE VR app for iOS and Android, or visit time.com/lifevr.

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