Download (Windows only)

download

Brain Maze is a simple little program that grows a funny wobbly loopy thing. It kind of looks a little like a brain growing. It's a continuous loop that avoids touching itself as it grows and thereby generates bays and peninsulas. Just watching it grow can be kind of fun.

After it has grown for a while, you can put a question mark (the question) somewhere outside of it and watch it try to get to the center of the brain. There in the middle sits an exclamation point! (the answer)
Brain Maze demonstrates a technique for generating a fractal-like pattern via physics: it is a closed loop, consisting of a chain of points, each of which experience a combination of repulsive forces and attractive forces with other points, such that it maintains its chain-like topology, yet is free to curl up in many ways. New points are born at random positions of the loop at a constant rate. As the loop grows in length, extra curls accumulate within the loop. The curls are like extra knowledge growing in your brain!

Brain Maze also shows a simple maze algorithm which is inspired by biological systems and techniques from artificial life. The question is attracted to the answer, but repelled by the brain's looping walls. It meanders around experiencing these different forces.

The way it actually gets to the answer is by way of a cute little trick: the question leaves behind a little trail, which it is repelled by, i.e., it tends to not go where it recently went. With the added force of "repulsion from past locations", the question can often pull itself out of a dead-end (but not always!)
The Brain has and Outside and an Inside
You can manipulate the brain by selecting a piece of it and pulling it around. You can also pick up the question or the answer and move them anywhere on the brain.

You can put the question either on the outside of the brain or inside of the brain. It is not always easy to tell in a mature brain whether a curl is inside or outside. But if the question is placed outside of the brain, you will see that it may reach a point close to the answer, but it will never actually get there.

Sometimes my brain feels like this.