Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real (Sort Of)?

Discussions about how to visualize 4D and higher, whether through crosseyedness, dreaming, or connecting one's nerves directly to a computer sci-fi style.

Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real (Sort Of)?

Postby Splat! » Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:52 pm

Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real?

This is something I've been pondering about the past couple of days.

I know computer technology isn't quite up to the task yet.

Hower, suppose that sometime in the near future, people could directly link their brains to a computer-generated virtual environment and that virtual environment was 4-dimensional.

In this virtual environment, the person connected to the computer would have access to a 4-dimensional body capable of 4-dimensional locomotion and 3d-retinas for eyes.

Would a human brain be capable of adapting to perceiving and moving around in this virtual environment, or are our brains so hard-wired to navigating and perceiving a 3d-environment that we would hopelessly confused.

To put it another way, let's say a human brain got somehow transplanted into the body of a 4D creature, would that person and their brain be able to adapt and learn, or not?

For example, there are cases where people who have been blind since a very early age have had their sight restored, but unable to comprehend or only partially comprehend what they are seeing.
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Re: Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real (Sort Of)?

Postby papernuke » Fri Nov 23, 2007 4:59 am

Splat! wrote:Hower, suppose that sometime in the near future, people could directly link their brains to a computer-generated virtual environment and that virtual environment was 4-dimensional.

For example, there are cases where people who have been blind since a very early age have had their sight restored, but unable to comprehend or only partially comprehend what they are seeing.


this has nothing to do with the fourth dimension..

how (even in the future ) would humans be able to link their brains with computers?

what is it like to be blind? what can you preceive with your eyes?
restated form of the blind question: how can you see nothing? is being blind like having your sense of sight completely wiped out? even if it were wiped out what would your brain preceive ?
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Postby Splat! » Fri Nov 23, 2007 1:48 pm

papernuke wrote:
Splat! wrote:...and that virtual environment was 4-dimensional.


this has nothing to do with the fourth dimension..


Yes, it does.

Basically, what I'm asking is, if a person somehow ended up in a four-dimensional world, with a four-dimensional body capable of moving in all four dimensions and senses capable of seeing in 4 dimensions, would their brain be capable of adapting to navigating and sensing this world, or not?
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Postby papernuke » Fri Nov 23, 2007 8:47 pm

no when i said this has nothing to do with the fourth dimension i meant MY questions had nothing to do with the fourth dimension. i was questioning off your questions. sorry for the confusion
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Postby papernuke » Fri Nov 23, 2007 8:50 pm

Splat! wrote:
Basically, what I'm asking is, if a person somehow ended up in a four-dimensional world, with a four-dimensional body capable of moving in all four dimensions and senses capable of seeing in 4 dimensions, would their brain be capable of adapting to navigating and sensing this world, or not?


yes, if you're asking about a 3D being going into a 4D universe, but adapting a 4D body. some functions would have to be learned however, for example. your 4D eyes would be able to sense the direction perpendicular to the 3 dimensions we know, but a 4D being would have to move you in the fourth dimensional direction before you would know how to. that 's because the muscles used to propel you in the 4D direction havent been used yet, so you need to have someone do it for you first before you can use it manually.
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Postby itzclay » Sun Nov 25, 2007 9:08 am

The difference in 3d and 4d is a matter of perception. Your perception being limited to what you senses tell you.

That said, while you might not be able to perceive 4d visually or with your senses, you can visualize it in your mind to a degree in portions. Which in itself opens up the possibility of working beyond dimensions.

But, as far as computers go, you could work externally with a PC I suppose, however you fail to recognize you are actually a much more sophisticated computer than anything on the market today. The only reason people believe computers to be smarter/faster is because the PC isn't having to deal with right vs wrong, nor does it have to keep large amounts of processing power to do other things. If it was having to deal and doing the same things our body/brain does, then it wouldn't be so "smart" afterall.
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Re: Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real (Sort Of)?

Postby saluk » Sat Oct 25, 2008 5:45 pm

Modern pc's are certainly capable of dealing with and rendering the 4th dimension. If you think about it, a modern pc game is simulating 3 dimensions while only displaying 2. If 3 dimensions can be simulated, why not 4? And if you were to use 3-d technology, like stereoscopic glasses for instance, you would be even better equipped to simulate the 4th dimension. To a computer, 4-d would not be that hard to render. The hard part would be conceptualizing how the visualization should be done. I think it would be very hard for most people to adapt to 4d, it might be something that only young kids who grow up learning it can handle. I know people who have been blind from birth who get cornea transplants have a very hard time adapting because their visual development never happened. I wrote a simple game recently that deals with multi-dimensional space, but you have to cycle which dimensions you are viewing. Needless to say, it gets confusing, but 4-d is almost OK.
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Re: Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real (Sort Of)?

Postby Keiji » Sun Oct 26, 2008 4:01 pm

No, there is a very good reason why we cannot rely on a computer to give an accurate experience of 4D.

The human retina is two-dimensional.

We see two-dimensional diagrams and so on easily with a two-dimensional retina, on screen or paper.

We can see three-dimensional objects in the real world because we see a perspective projection of those objects down to 2D and our brains have been taught from birth how to descramble this projection to give us a 3D view (especially with the depth perception that is added from having two eyes instead of just one).

We can see three-dimensional scenes on a computer screen such as in games or 3D modeling programs because the computer has simulated the traveling of light in the same way it happens in the real world, so we get the illusion of 3D. We don't get depth perception because of seeing it on a screen - with VR glasses however, this gives our depth perception back again.

We CANNOT see four-dimensional objects, no matter how well they are rendered on a computer screen, because our brains do not know how to recreate a 4D scene from a 2D image. Even if we made a model of the 4D to 3D projection in real life and looked at it, we would still merely see a three-dimensional object.

In order to see four-dimensional objects with the aid of a computer, the computer screen and our eyes would both have to be bypassed somehow. With technology available now and in the foreseeable future such a concept is impossible.
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Re: Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real (Sort Of)?

Postby Eric B » Thu Oct 30, 2008 3:56 pm

saluk wrote:Modern pc's are certainly capable of dealing with and rendering the 4th dimension. If you think about it, a modern pc game is simulating 3 dimensions while only displaying 2. If 3 dimensions can be simulated, why not 4? And if you were to use 3-d technology, like stereoscopic glasses for instance, you would be even better equipped to simulate the 4th dimension. To a computer, 4-d would not be that hard to render. The hard part would be conceptualizing how the visualization should be done. I think it would be very hard for most people to adapt to 4d, it might be something that only young kids who grow up learning it can handle. I know people who have been blind from birth who get cornea transplants have a very hard time adapting because their visual development never happened. I wrote a simple game recently that deals with multi-dimensional space, but you have to cycle which dimensions you are viewing. Needless to say, it gets confusing, but 4-d is almost OK.

What Hayate said is true, but to get a workable simulation of 4D in a game, you could start with something simple, like a platformer, or perhaps something with limited space like a fighting game. It would be 3D, but you could use size to represent the fourth dimension. You would start with a base scale size representing location in the 3D hyperplane. As soon as you move out ot 3D, the figure would become transparent or abstract. Moving one direction in 4D, it would become smaller. Moving the other direction, it would become larger. You could also use color tinting. In 3D, it would be normal colors. One direction, it would become bluer, and the other direction it would become redder.
So in either case, like if you were attacking another character, if you are the same size or color, even if both are not in the 3D space, you know you would be able to make the attack, or be attacked. If not the same size or color, you would "miss" and pass right through each other. You would also have a way to represent "turning"to face along the 4D axis, so if you were standing in what looks like the same spot as the opponent, make your attack in the direction of 4D.

So you would have a set of four playable coordinates. A pair of joysticks could represent two dimensions each. (I'm thinking of arcade games, for home platforms, the controls would have to be worked out). Wonder why none of the game manufacturers have thought of this yet.

Use both the size and color, you could even have 5D! Perhaps jaded fighting game masters would find all new challenges in stuff like these. To most others, it would probably be way too complicated.
Last edited by Eric B on Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real (Sort Of)?

Postby Keiji » Fri Oct 31, 2008 12:01 pm

Eric B wrote:Wonder why none of the game manufacturers have thought of this yet.


Because 1. it's freaking confusing to play for anyone but us nerds and 2. there is no hardware acceleration for rendering four-dimensional shapes yet.
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Re: Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real (Sort Of)?

Postby TheBetterGamer » Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:02 am

Pure fool, only creatures living in nth dimension can think in n dimensions, no higher.
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Re: Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real (Sort Of)?

Postby Eric B » Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:12 pm

I should reiterate that my idea would only be a simple 3D simulation of 4D, and you really would not even have to render any shapes; it's just using size or colors to represent the additional dimension. Even if you did have shapes, we have animations of rotating tesseracts, so simple shapes like that could be done as easily as any moving 3D shape in a game. Also, many gamers are "nerds like us", and it would be an all new challenge for them.
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Re: Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real (Sort Of)?

Postby Keiji » Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:40 pm

TheBetterGamer wrote:Pure fool, only creatures living in nth dimension can think in n dimensions, no higher.


Says you.

I can personally visualize some four-dimensional objects, but not everything. Some people here have reportedly had dreams in higher dimensions.

Eric: Yes, projections such as isometric would not be that hard to do, but it would still be confusing...
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Re: Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real (Sort Of)?

Postby Eric B » Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:43 pm

Not if you start by just using size or color tint to represent the new dimension. (Shapes would really not be needed).

When you say you visualize 4D objects, and others dream in 4D, do you see them geometrically correct (tesseract as a closed convex object with all right angles, etc.) or do you see isometric projections?
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Re: Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real (Sort Of)?

Postby wendy » Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:07 am

been in six dimensions - just got to know what you're seeing.

figured out clifford rotations from watching the stars rise in four dimensions, nothing really.

saw the seasons come and go. just got to know what you see.
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Re: Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real (Sort Of)?

Postby anderscolingustafson » Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:34 pm

Its impossible to experience 4d whith a computer screen because the computer is still 3d. In order to see 4 dimensions your veiwing screen would need to have at least 4-1 dimensions because if the sreen had 2 dimensions objects would vanish as they would move into the 4th dimension. A computer can simulate less dimensions but not more because there would be no were to put the extra dimension and no way for the computer to keep track of it. If you did make a computer whith a 3d screen to simulate the 4th dimension you would have to stand outside the screen and if anything got in front of something elch it would block the veiw of that something elch which would not be very realistick when trying to simulate the 4th dimension because if you were truly 4d you would be able to see through that object as you would look at the screen from the 4th dimension.

Even if you found out how to see in 4d you would still be unable to fully experience 4d as your sence of touch would still tell you that you were 3d. Unlike the sense of site, which is a 2d representasion of the 3d world, the sense of touch is a 3d representasion of a 3d world as it raps around the body and is inside the body. In order to simulate the sense of touch in 4d you would need a 4d representasion of a 4d world and thats simply not possible with the 3 dimensions we have available to us.

A computer would need to calculate a huge amount of data to simulate the 4th dimension possibly more than could fit in its volume.

A 3d screen could simulate the 3rd dimension but not the 4th dimension.
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Re: Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real (Sort Of)?

Postby PWrong » Tue Mar 30, 2010 11:53 am

You need to directly interact with the brain. If you can do that in 3D it's trivial to bump up to 4D.


A computer would need to calculate a huge amount of data to simulate the 4th dimension possibly more than could fit in its volume.

Not really, it's just an extra number for each point. The programming is where it gets tricky. It's best to program in nD while thinking in 3D where possible, then let n=4.
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Re: Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real (Sort Of)?

Postby Keiji » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:49 pm

Ah, there you are!
I hope you're not ignoring my SSC3 topic...


On topic, it depends what kind of graphics you're doing.

As well as an extra coordinate for each point, you'd have a lot more simplices to be stored and drawn (just compare some of the 4D shapes to their 3D equivalents).

Also, if you're programming a game which uses a grid, it'd be even more intensive. 3D games today are still programmed using a 2D grid with a height map - not allowing complicated structures that take advantage of vertical space - so adding yet another dimension would be quite a feat!
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Re: Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real (Sort Of)?

Postby wendy » Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:02 am

I thought it's possible to just watch the thing. But then again, you have to know what you're looking at.
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Re: Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real (Sort Of)?

Postby PWrong » Fri Apr 02, 2010 8:09 am

On topic, it depends what kind of graphics you're doing.

I was thinking of the kind of graphics where you grow a 3D block of sensitive nerve cells, each connected to the computer and to the brain, and then write a program that converts an existing 4D space into a 3D vision, and converts that into something the nerves will interpret as light. Then hopefully the brain will learn to interpret it and live in the program. Easy really :P.


As well as an extra coordinate for each point, you'd have a lot more simplices to be stored and drawn (just compare some of the 4D shapes to their 3D equivalents).


Ok, so maybe a lot more data. But by the time we get all the biology and programming problems sorted out, I don't think data will be much of an issue.
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Re: Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real (Sort Of)?

Postby wendy » Sat Apr 03, 2010 8:49 am

Seriously.

Even three dimensions takes some learning. You have to learn how to gauge distance. You have to learn how to read 2d pictures into 3d. There are, of course things like optical illusions.

Four dimensions or higher, is not something you can run outside and have a look. You have to build these things in your mind. You have to do the maths and get the illusions right. Lots of people don't do this correctly, even if they do the maths. It's also an idea of prowling around looking at the 2d - 3d vs 3d - 4d stuff (we are, after all, 2d's hyperspace - remember that).

Once you get this going, you can get simple things like houses and trees and things happening. You need to deal with each of the problems, like a model maker making things. A book like "the planiverse", deals with constructing two-dimensional physics. There are interesting surprises in four dimensions too.

Some things are connected to points, like lines. Some things are connected to solids, like faces and margins. Something like a knife is to cut. This is that the moving blade × time, is solid / one. So we see that time, and one are single dimension, and therefore blade × two is solid. In four dimensions, a blade has a 2d edge.
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Re: Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real (Sort Of)?

Postby quickfur » Wed May 26, 2010 1:51 am

Keiji wrote:
TheBetterGamer wrote:Pure fool, only creatures living in nth dimension can think in n dimensions, no higher.


Says you.

I can personally visualize some four-dimensional objects, but not everything. Some people here have reportedly had dreams in higher dimensions.[...]

And I can visualize 4D well enough to rediscover several 4D uniform polytopes, simply by mentally attaching polyhedra together into a 4D ball. It's all about training your mind to infer (n+1)-dimensional depth based on n-dimensional perspective distortion.

(Not to mention that I rediscovered the duocylinder independently, before I even knew that shape was what people called the duocylinder.)
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Re: Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real (Sort Of)?

Postby quickfur » Wed May 26, 2010 1:54 am

wendy wrote:[...]In four dimensions, a blade has a 2d edge.

Or a 1D edge if you want it to be really sharp.
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Re: Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real (Sort Of)?

Postby wendy » Wed May 26, 2010 7:19 am

The purpose of a blade is to cut: that is, to create a N-1 space over a sweep. So we have:

solid / length = surface (N-1); surface / time = margin (N-2 space),

Since N=4, a blade is 2d.
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Re: Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real (Sort Of)?

Postby Eric B » Wed May 26, 2010 2:03 pm

So what would a 1D cut do in 4D? Create what would amount to a hole?
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Re: Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real (Sort Of)?

Postby quickfur » Wed May 26, 2010 8:59 pm

wendy wrote:The purpose of a blade is to cut: that is, to create a N-1 space over a sweep. So we have:

solid / length = surface (N-1); surface / time = margin (N-2 space),

Since N=4, a blade is 2d.

You're right, of course.

This does lead to the interesting observation that in 4D, etching and cutting use blade edges of distinct dimensionality. A 1D edge would be extremely sharp (like a point in 3D), yet it would not divide, so it is best suited for carving/etching. A 2D edge would be used to bisect objects.

Something with a 1D point would seem to be useful only for piercing.
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Re: Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real (Sort Of)?

Postby A_Square » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:32 pm

Splat! wrote:Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real?

This is something I've been pondering about the past couple of days.

I know computer technology isn't quite up to the task yet.

Hower, suppose that sometime in the near future, people could directly link their brains to a computer-generated virtual environment and that virtual environment was 4-dimensional.

In this virtual environment, the person connected to the computer would have access to a 4-dimensional body capable of 4-dimensional locomotion and 3d-retinas for eyes.

Would a human brain be capable of adapting to perceiving and moving around in this virtual environment, or are our brains so hard-wired to navigating and perceiving a 3d-environment that we would hopelessly confused.

To put it another way, let's say a human brain got somehow transplanted into the body of a 4D creature, would that person and their brain be able to adapt and learn, or not?

For example, there are cases where people who have been blind since a very early age have had their sight restored, but unable to comprehend or only partially comprehend what they are seeing.


Pawan Sinha's has worked in india with children who have lived for many years blinded by cataracts. His work has shown that it is possible to learn sight even at a delayed age.

I am optimistic that the human brain would be capable of learning higher dimensions (even beyond 4D) given a direct input which correlated to a higher dimensional space. Just as the brain is not hard-wired for the any particular language (just language in general), maybe the brain is not hard wired to any particular number of dimensions.

It's difficult to make predication about the technology but if they can do output, maybe input is possible too!
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Re: Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real (Sort Of)?

Postby arkmioh » Sun Feb 12, 2012 5:41 am

My theory is that if a childs brain would be able to adapt but perhaps an adult's would not.
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Re: Possible Way to Experience 4D For Real (Sort Of)?

Postby quickfur » Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:24 am

arkmioh wrote:My theory is that if a childs brain would be able to adapt but perhaps an adult's would not.

I first learned to visualize 4D when I was 29.
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