PhD candidate co-founds virtual environment startup to help researchers study memory and learning

October 4, 2022 by A&S Communications

“When I started my PhD program, I was not expecting to co-found a software startup,” says Benjamin Alsbury-Nealy. “I was interested in doing research to better understand how people learn and remember things throughout their real-life experiences.”

Alsbury-Nealy is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Arts & Science’s Department of Psychology and along with Kyla Alsbury-Nealy, a PhD candidate in U of T's Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, and Emile McLean, vice-president of innovation at PMG Intelligence, the startup they founded is called SilicoLabs.

The mainstay of SilicoLabs is Experimenter, 3D-design software that allows researchers to create virtual environments used to conduct experiments which in the past would have been carried out in the real world.

“To do the research I was interested in, I needed to create tasks within everyday 3D environments,” he says. “I thought there would already be lots of great software out there, but quickly found this wasn’t the case.”

And so, Benjamin Alsbury-Nealy set out to create his own software — and after months of coding and development, Experimenter and SilicoLabs were launched.

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