Set & Setting

Set & Setting is an immersive VR experience made of a series of short vignettes designed to produce relaxed and entranced states in the user. It draws on lessons from neuroscience and psychology to craft engaging experiences which are aesthetic and therapeutic. Set & Setting is presently in development in is being beta tested in clinical settings.


Set & Setting is a VR application designed with the clinical infusion process in mind. It was designed and developed by an artist in consultation with scientists.

The application consists of a series of 8 postcard-like vignettes. The scenes are all different but share some design principals:

The patient experience:

  • The scenes are non-interactive or only passively interactive so as not to overload the patient with potentially confusing tasks and allow them to be more introspective.
  • The application will orient itself to fit the the direction the patient is looking in. In this way it works for patients who are sitting up, reclining, or laying on their backs.
  • Patients can choose which scene is their favorite and stay with it as long as they want.
  • A web application allows nurses to provide audio cues to the patients and check in on their level of alertness.
  • The scenes are designed to allow the patients to remain immobile.

Visual and aural design principles:

  • The compositions are highly center focused, with attention grabbing tunnels and spirals focusing the eye on subtly strobing dots.
  • Subtle visual strobing at 10 hz may help entrain brainwaves to a relaxed and focused state.
  • Most of the scenes incorporate the kinds of imagery that patients under the influence of ketamine report such as slowly moving through geometric, spiral tunnels.
  • The audio makes use of binaural beats and soft ambient soundscapes to soothe the patient.
  • Some of the scenes are more abstract while others are designed as illustrative, natural landscapes.
  • The scenes are procedurally generated. They are constantly changing and never repeat. We believe this allows them to serve as more effective objects of meditation.
  • All of the scenes are rendered in real-time. This provides much higher quality three dimensionality than 360 video.


  • Oculus Go headsets are lightweight, inexpensive, and untethered.
  • They are easy for inexperienced people to manage.
  • They only allow for three degrees of freedom (XYZ rotation but no positional movement). This works well with experiences designed for patients who will not be moving much at all.