Final Project Documentation

Project Overview


Project Summary

Individual immersion characterizes most VR experiences. The wearer puts the headset on and suddenly disconnected from his or her surroundings, dives into another space. Especially for exhibition purpose, other audiences without HMD cannot get involved in the VR experience. My thesis is trying to find a way to solve this particular problem by making shared awareness between HMD (Head-mounted display) wearer and other observers. I am aiming to examine the shared awareness in a designed roleplay experience with customized HMD, VR/AR apps and speculative futuristic scenario by combining cyberculture and criticizing human-animal relationship.

Research Questions

  • How to make shared awareness in a VR experience between HMD wearer and other observers to solve the problem of single immersion?
  • How to make active communications and interactions between HMD wearer and other observers?
  • How to incorporate cyberculture and cyberpunk in the design of the VR experience with shared awareness?
  • How to incorporate wearable technologies, 3D printing and laser cutting to customize the VR head-mounted display?
  • How to overcome the trust issues between HMD wearer and other observers?
  • How to set the goals, constraints for the HMD wearer and other observers in the shared VR experience?
  • How to use the VR experience with shared awareness between HMD wearer and other observers to discuss the relationship between human and animals by showing different perspectives?

My thesis is exploring possibilities to make the shared awareness between HMD wearer and other audiences based on the problem of single immersion that exists in most VR experience. I argue that a good VR experience should not only focus on the HMD wearer but also focus on other audiences/obersers. I am aiming to have several prototypes with user testing to make and improve the shared awareness by merging parallel technologies such as IoT, wearable computing and augmented reality. The outcome of my thesis will be a roleplay experience with customized HMD, VR and AR apps that take place in an exhibition for a group of people.

Why

The single player in VR dominant for a while, there is a need to explore other ways to engage audiences. Individual immersion in VR cuts off the social connections and awareness between the virtual world and physical world, between the HMD wearer and other viewers. As a consequence, people will get bored of VR very easily. Besides, the overall situation in the current market of HMD all has a dull appearance, which also shows the lack of attention for other audiences. I want to bridge the connections between the two types of people and also using my research results to speculate what future HMD will be.

How

The methodologies I intend to use for my thesis is the combination of Research Through Design, User-centered Design, Agile Design and Speculative Design. From the technical and physical making part, I will split different steps to make several prototypes in an iterated matter to help to improve the shared awareness in VR by researching and experimenting with wearable technologies, internet of things and augmented reality. From the user experience part, I will test out with physical and digital prototypes on a large range of testers to gain more feedbacks to contribute to my design process. I will also use speculative design to make a futuristic scenario as a background story as narrative cues for the roleplay experience.

So What

My thesis is hopefully contributing to the new wave of innovation of mixed reality that will bring more social aspects to this field. It’s becoming more and more important to share our own experiences with people. I want to encourage other artists, designers, researchers to pay more attention to the relationships between HMD wearer and other audiences when designing and developing a VR experience. Furthermore, I want to use the shared experience with different perspectives as an artistic medium to bring a critical discussion on the human-animal relationship.

Context Review


Artificial Nature: Inhabitat. – Haru Ji and Graham Wakefield

inhabitat-0 (1).jpg
Image source from: http://www.artificialnature.net/

Inhabitat was one of the research projects and an evolving series of art installations. Inhabitat offers a poetic, interactive experience of a mixed reality landscape with a virtual ecosystem that is populated by artificial organisms whose rules can be rewritten while participants interact within them. The artists have built in a feature to directly engage other audiences, by making their creatures vulnerable to extinction by the shadows that people cast when walking through the installation.

This project has two perspectives, one is from the HMD wearer who has the perspectives of the organism living in the artificial ecosystem, the other one is from the other observers who have the godlike perspectives. The artists designed the experience both for the HMD wearer and other audiences with interactions and different perspectives. I think this project successfully made the shared awareness between HMD wearer and other audiences and it overcame the problem of single immersion in VR.

Shooting Game. – EGO

IMG_4620
Image source from: http://www.sohu.com/a/204976575_555194

Shooting Game simultaneously demonstrates two parallel worlds by blurring the boundary between virtual reality and real life, which renders the artwork a profound sense of immersions. A participator was led onto a platform surrounded by projections on all four sides. The participator then started a light-hearted shooting game, where the system applauds every time when a paperman target gets to shoot. Meanwhile, in the outside world, the lifeless targets were transformed into running children. Audience standing on the outer circle were able to hear their screams and saw them dropping dead onto the ground. Yet the shooter remained oblivious to this, until at the end of the VR game when the screen finally showed a name list of the children he shot dead, actually the true victims shot dead in wars, and playback the whole shooting process.

This project provides two different perspectives with distinct visual contents. The artists designed both for the HMD wearer and other audiences. Although it didn’t make the shared awareness it overcame the problem of single immersion on HMD wearer and other audience who can also be part of the experience. I think this project brings a critical discussion on the virtual world and real world with humanities and ethics.

Flock – David Lobser

Flock is a shared, immersive, co-located, multi-user VR experience made for a group of people. The artists also describe it as a gamifies sandbox, an interactive music video and a ritualized LARP (Live Action Role Playing Game). Each participant wears an HMD, a headphone and a pair of wings attached to their arms. The participants are role playing birds and they will have their representative avatar in VR. In the experience, the participants are encouraged to call like birds and flapping their wings instead of speaking to each other. The more insects they eat, their birds’ avatars will grow and become more colorful.

Even this project belongs to another research field which is social VR and not directly having the problem of single immersions as the fact that every user has the access of an HMD, it still related to what I am aiming to do for my thesis. Firstly, the whole experience became a show, if there were extra audiences without an HMD they can still watch them with an awareness of what happened to these people because they were acting and behaving like birds even with a pair of physical wings. Secondly, it related to one of my other research questions on human-animal relationship and animal’s perspectives. Thirdly, it uses a role-playing game format which is also one of my intends to explore the narrative cues and interactions.

Prototype Process


Ideation

Scanned Documents_Page_1
Prototype suggestions from my cohorts

In the early ideation process of the designing the prototype, we had the group discussion and mind mapping. I wrote about my thesis title, short description and prototype ideas on a poster and my cohorts give me the suggestions as follows:

  • Role Play
  • Use case Diagram
  • Storyboard
  • Charades
  • Ask people if they would use your concept
  • Concept testing to get ideas of interactions people would want
  • Storyboarding for a multiplayer game people who is wearing VR and people who is not, need to work together to complete a goal. Observe the interactions between them.
  • Asymmetric design
  • Haptic feedback
  • Think of physical interactions between the person in + persons out
IMG_4673
My Prototype Mindmap

Then based on the suggestions I received, I sketched out a mindmap of my prototype with the key elements such as users, interactions, location, and objects. At this point, I have an initial plan of staying away from the technology first and focusing more on the actual experience. Thus I came out with the idea of making a physical game to explore possible interactions between HMD wearer and other audiences to answer my research question of making shared awareness between them as seen in the prototype sketch in figure 3.

IMG_4674
Physical Game Sketch

This physical game is splitting my classmates into a group of three people, person A to be a player, person B to be an interrupter, person C to be a commander. Each round lasts for 3 minutes. If person A reached the destination, commander win. If person A didn’t reach the destination, interrupter would win. Switch the positions for three times.

  • Person A – Player: You will be blindfolded and you need to reach out to the destination by the commands made by the commander, you can completely trust him/her and they will make you safe.
  • Person B – Interrupter: You are allowed to make sounds, move chairs around and touch person A. Your goal is to try your best to prevent Person A from reaching the destination.
  • Person C – Commander: You need to make clear commands to person A and help him/her to reach the destination. Your responsibility is to make person A safe and don’t make him/her stumbled and fell down.

In this prototype, I incorporated the theory of cybernetics and information communications with a sender, a receiver and noise. Person A is playing the role of the HMD wearer who has no control of the physical world and only has limited access to interact within the virtual world. Person B is playing the role of the audience who can interact with the HMD wearer in the virtual environment like moving objects around, making sound and haptic interactions. Person C is playing the role of the storytelling cues in the virtual reality for the player to finish the whole experience. I interviewed each participant to ask for the feedback to add to my user experience design.

Video records:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tpdg_qVE8BE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLtHilRp7ss&t=30s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNSQBwpe4Q4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJB2XRjSbfU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXkV1B_L24w

Design thinking

IMG_4768

Verbs:

HMD wearer: Stomp, Walk, Crunch, Jump

Other audience: Watch, Tap, Hold, Swipe

Value: Awareness + Cooperation

When I wrote down the verbs for my players, I considered both the HMD wearer and other audiences. As I am thinking to make the game characters to be animals who have social behaviors like rabbits, so I mainly use the verbs that rabbits would have, such as stomp, walk, crunch and jump. And for other audiences, I mainly use some verbs for the interactions on the smartphone, such as watch, tap, hold, swipe. There are surely more verbs I would use for both users, but I would like to start with these simple ones first to test out. The values I choose for my prototype are awareness and cooperation because the main purpose for my thesis is making shared awareness between the HMD wearer and other audiences. And after my physical prototype, I found the cooperation between two kinds of users are quite interesting.

Digital prototype

Based on my last prototype, I then went ahead to develop my digital prototype. From the more technical aspect of this user testing, I want to test out the wearability of my headset, the usability of the AR app, the functionality of the IoT communications. Beyond that, I also want to test the artistic concept behind relationship and different perspectives of human and animals. As the fact of the time scope, I wasn’t able to make the communications between AR and VR, but that part could be added to my next iteration.

This prototype including four parts:

  1. A DIY VR headset with LEDs, servos and felts marker for the HMD wearer. (Prototype from my independent study)
  2. An Android device running VR scene with the designed rabbit’s vision.
  3. An IOS device running AR app which can control the components on the headset.
  4. A background story

Research about rabbit vision:             

Screen Shot 2018-08-03 at 21.05.26
Image source from:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFYKeLu9tG8&t=70s

I did some research on rabbit vision and want to figure out what color and angles that a rabbit can see. Evidently, they can discriminate between the wavelengths we call “green” and “blue.” Although rabbits may not perceive green and blue the way humans do, they can tell them apart. This means they have limited color vision, probably conferred by two different categories of cone cells (blue and green).  And I also found a video which simulates rabbit vision which basically only have gray and blue-greenish colors.

Technical specs:

  • MAC OS: High Sierra 10.13.5 (17F77)
  • iPhone OS: 11.3.1 (15E302)
  • Android: 7.0
  • Xcode: 9.4 (9F1027a)
  • Vuforia: 7.1.35
  • Unity 3D: 2018.1.4f1
  • Android JDK: 1.8.0

Based on the initial research, I then created the rabbit’s vision in Unity 3D with downloaded 3d assets of a forest. I used photoshop to change every texture to fit with the rabbit’s color sensing.

Screen Shot 2018-08-03 at 21.18.00.png
Working VR Scene in Unity
Screen Shot 2018-06-28 at 19.17.55
AR App Development in Unity (Prototype in my Independent Study)

I didn’t change the AR app very much which I have done in my independent study with some placeholders of fire camp and buttons. However, I did receive feedbacks that my users were wondering why there was a fire camp on the HMD wearer’s head and they also found it’s difficult to touch on the buttons in the AR app.

giphy
Interactions between the HMD wearer and other audiences

Revision Ideas:

I tested with this VR scene for the first time in a group of people with my cohorts and professors, one of the important feedbacks is that the testers would prefer more instructions. The other one is the improvement for the AR app. It’s also interesting to know most of my HMD testers feel the ears movement is very robotic, so I am thinking how about to just make her/him play the role of robotic rabbit (cyborg rabbit)?

So based on the feedbacks, firstly, I came up with the idea of speculating a background story which can both be instructions for the participants but also to immerse and position my participants in a cyberculture futurist setup to further introduce the idea of human-animal perspectives.

Secondly, I would like to improve both the AR and VR apps. For VR, I wanted to add a lab scene outside the forest to make sense of my background story and also improve the graphics quality. For AR, I wanted to replace the small buttons with a 3D rabbit model, so instead of touching on the buttons, my user can touch the specific parts of the rabbit model to interact with the corresponding parts on the headset.

Screen Shot 2018-08-03 at 11.19.13 (2).png
Final VR Scene with lab

Speculative background story: Today is 26th July 2038, My name is Yiyi Shao, I’m the chief scientist at AniBot Lab. Welcome welcome! It’s an exciting day to the public our new project RabBot. We implanted two robotics ears and eyes to our test subject. It’s still the first stage of our experiment, but we saw a remarkable success. Now may I invite our guest to wake up RabBot1.0.

critique.jpg

To conclude,  I added ta lab scene in the VR to aligned with my speculative background story. So my tester will have a sense of she/he is in an artificial forest that scientists create in the lab. I also improved the AR app by adding a rabbit 3d object placeholder, so when the AR tester touches the ears, the ears on the HMD will move and the LED will light up. When she/he touched the eyes, the LED will turn off.

Project Roadmaps


roeadmap.jpg

Above is the project roadmap for my thesis plan, I’ve put some important dates/deadline for each particular stage. The prototype and writing doc should be developed at the same time and contributes to each other. I am hoping to make two more prototypes to make it more polish also conduct more user testing to gain more feedbacks.

Flowcharts of user experience


Workflow.jpg

 

The diagram above is the initial user flow of the interactions between the HMD wearer and other observers which includes the whole loop between two of the users. The looping interactions are the fundamental condition to examine my research question on the shared awareness between the HMD wearer and other observers. As the ongoing development of the prototypes and user testing, more interactions will be added to the flowchart.

Test Report


Physical Prototype Report

Method: Group Testing, Interview, Open discussion.

Testers: My cohorts and instructors

Questions and interviews:

To person A

  • Have you tried VR before? Is it reminding you of any VR experience?
  • What do you think is the most challenging part for you to reach the destination?

To person B

  • What do you think is the most effective part you did to interrupt?
  • What do you wish you could have to stop person A to reach the destination?

To person C

  • What do you think is the most effective part you did to guide person A to reach the destination?
  • What other things do you wish you could have to help person A to reach the destination?

Feedbacks:

Person A

  • Most participants tried VR before and it’s reminding them of wearing headset but not knowing what happened outside of the VR.
  • Most participants can figure out a strategy quickly to move forward.
  • Vocal cues/commands from the commander are the most helpful part.
  • Other noises in the space are very destructed.
  • The lost of vision is difficult for most participants.
  • More constraints and rules to would be more difficult for the participants.

Person B

  • Some participants wish they can simulate the voice of the commander to confuse the player.
  • Most participants worried they were doing too much to interrupt and gave less interruptions towards the end of the game.

Person C

  • Secret code to communicate with the player
  • Clarifications of the directions with the player at the beginning of the game.
  • More clear and straightforward way to guide the player.
  • Body configurations

Summary:

  • Most participants tried VR before and it’s reminding them of wearing headset but not knowing what happened outside of the VR.
  • Most participants can figure out a strategy quickly to move forward.
  • Vocal cues/commands from the commander are the most helpful part.
  • Other noises in the space are very destructed.
  • The lost of vision is difficult for most participants.
  • More constraints and rules to would be more difficult for the participants.
  • Some participants wish they can simulate the voice of the commander to confuse the player.
  • Most participants worried they were doing too much to interrupt and gave fewer interruptions towards the end of the game.
  • Secret code to communicate with the player
  • Clarifications of the directions with the player at the beginning of the game.
  • More clear and straightforward way to guide the player.
  • Body configurations

Relations to the research question: My main research question is how to make shared awareness between HMD wearer and other observers. This prototype is to explore possible interactions which can improve the shared awareness of my target users through three directions: corporations, interruptions, instructions.

Digital Prototype Report

Method: One-to-one testing, Interview, Open discussion

Testers: Self-testing, My cohorts, Instructors, Professors, VR Experts, People I don’t know

In-session observations:

  • The HMD wearer moved their head in a large-range once they put on the headset to look around in the VR. The observer who is holding the ios device had to chase the movement of the headset to be able to trigger the AR control panel.
  • The HMD wearer didn’t feel any uncomfortable when wearing the headset and their body movement is pretty natural.
  • The HMD wearer tried to walk around and wondered the interactions in the VR.
  • The observer with the ios device had some difficult to touch the button in the AR app.
  • The sound in the VR scene is not loud enough.
  • Some people have some difficulties to adjust their eye focus in VR, I need to tell them to watch trees that far away, which helped a lot.

Questions and interviews:

To HMD wearer:

  1. How do you feel like as a rabbit in VR?
  2. How do you find the VR scene?
  3. How do you feel like when the ears are moving?
  4. Do you feel any uncomfortable when wearing the headset?
  5. Is the headset heavy to you?

To AR App observer:

  1. Do you find the app to be difficult to use?
  2. How do you feel when you can interact with the HMD wearer?

Feedbacks:

  • The headset is not heavy at all, It’s quite comfortable to wear.
  • I would prefer more instructions from you.
  • The menu in AR app is too small.
  • I wonder why there is a campfire on the headset.
  • The sound is too low, I can’t hear anything.
  • I wonder If there is any interaction I can do in VR.
  • If I were a rabbit, I would prefer to see my pink noise, furry feet and pows when I look down.
  • Wow, I feel like I am so small like a rabbit.
  • I prefer the small movements of the ears, I feel like the big movements are too robotics.
  • I can see some shadow of trees is pink.
  • I wonder if a rabbit can turn their neck at such a big angle.
  • I found the graphics in VR are a bit rough.
  • I feel it’s a bit blur in VR but when I look far it will become better.
  • Your headset can’t fit me, I can’t see it well.

This prototype provides three different perspectives on the participants. These perspectives including the HMD wearer, the AR observer and other observers (Who didn’t have access to any device). The shared awareness between the HMD wearer and other observer was examined through the following parts:

  • The speculative background story and roleplaying
  • The interactions of AR and components on the HMD
  • The design/appearance of the HMD
  • The design/appearance of augmented HMD wearer

Final Critique Report

We have a final critique section at the end of the prototyping course and I received very important feedback. One of the feedbacks is that both of the VR experts have the distortion problem after wearing the headset and they can’t see the VR scene very well. This happened only once during my user testing and it gets solved after I told the user to look something far away and focus on the radical pointer. However, the VR expert team still have the problem, and I didn’t have time to adjust the wheel for them. This brought my attention to the differences of each person’s face, although I’ve already chosen to hack an existing headset which already has the universal design with the consideration on this issue, it still won’t work in some cases.

Install sketches


install sketch.jpg

I am thinking to decorate the space to be aligned with the speculative background story like a futurist lab by either poster, small objects or projection mapping in a cyberpunk style. Maybe some LEDs, plants, previous prototype and a sign of the lab name.

Reflections


Physical Prototype:

What happened: Roleplay physical game to simulate the scenario of communications and interactions between HMD wearer and other audience. The blindfolded player can figure out a strategy and win very quickly.

What worked: Physical tasks worked very well, vocal commands are useful.

What didn’t work: Passive interruption.

What I learned: Lack of constraints/restrictions on players, interaction patterns for replayability (Comments from cohorts: A want for physical interaction between viewer & VR user). Demands on more physical interactions, succinct and encoded communications

What next: Moving on to a digital version with more constraints. (Comments from cohorts: Technology development or game development? Which elements of the physical experiment are you looking to preserve? How do people not in VR play in the same game?)

I think the whole ideation process with my cohorts and instructions is very useful. We helped each other with feedback and suggestions by sticky notes, group discussions, which helped me to gain a lot of insights to come up with the new design. I was able to run the user testing for this prototype 4 times on different people, through the observations and interviews, the results are providing me the fundamental supports for my future development. It also cleared out my assumptions of what my users would do to interact with each other, especially an experience for a group of people with different perspectives and roles. Based on the received feedback, more thoughtful rules need to be appropriately designed in the game experience. The changing of the VR scenes, responsive objects and sound will be designed with the interactions from the outside world. So for my next prototypes, I will incorporate these interactions together with social animal behaviors to make a shared awareness in VR and further discuss the relationship between human, animals and nature.

Digital Prototype:

What happened: Roleplay VR and AR experience with a speculative futuristic background story.

What worked: Interaction between AR and physical components on HMD. The speculative story. Roleplaying to provide shared awareness and different perspectives for an HMD wearer, observers who have access with a smartphone to run AR, and observers who don’t access on any device.

What didn’t work: Lack of instruction at user testing, Vision distortion in VR at final critique

What I learned: To be fully prepared to help the HMD wearer to adjust the vision distance because each person has different distances between eyes.

What next:  Communications between AR and VR app. Try with different headsets to figure out a better module to hack.

I have run the user testing for this prototype five times which covered a larger range of testers including myself, my cohorts, strangers, professors and VR experts. I found the user testing is so useful and contributed more to my design. For example, the speculative story came up after the first rounds of user testing on Tuesday because my testers didn’t have a clear idea of what they can do ( also happened in my physical prototype), so I think it’s important to make an instruction to my testers in a more interesting way. Based on the past experience on the physical prototype, I designed a role-play futurist scenario for everyone to position themselves to be part of this experience. Furthermore, It helped me to find a way to combine my theoretical framework of cybernetics, speculative design and set an artistic style (cyberpunk) for me to work on further for the next interactions. I do appreciate every feedback and questions I received so far, they made me more clear of what I am aiming to research on for my thesis. At this point, I want to make it clear that my research questions are all centered on the shared awareness between the HMD wearer and other audiences. Multiplayer VR is not within the field that having individual immersion issue. Redesigning a VR headset is not my research area and can’t fully make the shared awareness between the HMD wearer and other audiences. 

Future Plans and Next Steps

I want to keep working on a more consistent cyberpunk style, for example, the representation of the rabbit should be aligned with the rest of the other design. I want to find a way to solve the issue of the VR distortion that happened to different people, it’s interesting to know that it didn’t happen on the user testing on my cohorts, but it did happen on the VR experts. The speculative story seems to make more sense as part of the experience, I would like to work more on that to see if it will help to improve the shared awareness and human-animal relationship.

Furthermore, I definitely want to make the interactions and communications between VR and AR, for example, simulate what happened in my physical prototypes to make it digital like moving objects around in the VR scene. And I want to select a better VR headset case to hack on which will have more adjustments for each person.

 

Reflection on prototyping process and next steps

General reflections:

I don’t usually involve both physical prototype and digital prototype in my design process. However, after my last two attempts in this course, I do think it’s very helpful to switch from one to the other. As a designer, it’s very easy to limit on my own assumption of what my users will do in an experience and it’s also very easy to be single-minded on the technical side but forget about the actual experience. For my future development of prototypes, I am thinking to keep using this method of switching from a physical format to a digital format not exactly doing the same tests, but maybe try to design a specific scenario to explore a specific user experience.

So basically, I made two prototypes to explore my main research question of the shared awareness between the HMD wearer and other observers at this early stage. The physical prototype focused more on the user experience in a VR scenario and provided me with interactive possibilities that I will never come up by myself. The digital prototype focused more on the wearability of the headset and also further experiment with a different perspective as a non-human to my user.

1.Physical prototype: 

For my purpose this prototype, I want to focus more on the possible interactions between HMD wearer and other audiences, so I designed a physical role play game by splitting my classmates into a group of three people. Person A to be a player who got blindfolded and need to follow the vocal commands made by the commander to get to the destination. Person B to be an interrupter, who was allowed to make sounds, move chairs around and touch person A. Person C to be a commander, who needed to make clear commands to person A and help him/her to reach the destination. Each round lasts for 3 minutes. If person A reached the destination, commander win. If person A didn’t reach the destination, interrupter would win. Switch the positions for three times.

Ideation process:

Method: Group Testing, Interview, Open discussion.

Testers: My cohorts and instructors

Feedback:

  • Most participants tried VR before and it’s reminding them of wearing headset but not knowing what happened outside of the VR.
  • Most participants can figure out a strategy quickly to move forward.
  • Vocal cues/commands from the commander are the most helpful part.
  • Other noises in the space are very destructed.
  • The lost of vision is difficult for most participants.
  • More constraints and rules to would be more difficult for the participants.
  • Some participants wish they can simulate the voice of the commander to confuse the player.
  • Most participants worried they were doing too much to interrupt and gave fewer interruptions towards the end of the game.
  • Secret code to communicate with the player
  • Clarifications of the directions with the player at the beginning of the game.
  • More clear and straightforward way to guide the player.
  • Body configurations

Relations to the research question:

My main research question is how to make shared awareness between HMD wearer and other observers. This prototype is to explore possible interactions which can improve the shared awareness of my target users through three directions: corporations, interruptions, instructions.

Reflections:

I think the whole ideation process with my cohorts and instructions is very useful. We helped each other with feedback and suggestions by sticky notes, group discussions, which helped me to gain a lot of insights to come up with the new design. I was able to run the user testing for this prototype 4 times on different people, through the observations and interviews, the results are providing me the fundamental supports for my future development. It also cleared out my assumptions of what my users would do to interact with each other, especially an experience for a group of people with different perspectives and roles. Based on the received feedback, more thoughtful rules need to be appropriately designed in the game experience. The changing of the VR scenes, responsive objects and sound will be designed with the interactions from the outside world. So for my next prototypes, I will incorporate these interactions together with social animal behaviors to make a shared awareness in VR and further discuss the relationship between human, animals and nature.

2.Digital prototype:

image 4.JPEG
AR app view
Screen Shot 2018-08-03 at 11.19.13 (2)
VR Scene

 

Based on my last prototype, I then went ahead to develop my digital prototype. From the more technical aspect of this user testing, I want to test out the wearability of my headset, the usability of the AR app, the functionality of the IoT communications. Beyond that, I also want to test the artistic concept behind relationship and different perspectives of human and animals. As the fact of the time scope, I wasn’t able to make the communications between AR and VR, but that part could be added to my next iteration.

This prototype including four parts:

  1. A DIY VR headset with LEDs, servos and felts marker for the HMD wearer.
  2. An Android device running VR scene with the designed rabbit’s vision.
  3. An IOS device running AR app which can control the components on the headset.
  4. A background story: Today is 26th July 2038, My name is Yiyi Shao, I’m the chief scientist at AniBot Lab. Welcome welcome! It’s an exciting day to the public our new project RabBot. We implanted two robotics ears and eyes to our test subject. It’s still the first stage of our experiment, but we saw a remarkable success. Now may I invite our guest to wake up RabBot1.0.

Method: One-to-one testing, Interview, Open discussion

Testers: Self-testing, My cohorts, Instructors, Professors, VR Experts, People I don’t know

In-session observations:

  • The HMD wearer moved their head in a large-range once they put on the headset to look around in the VR. The observer who is holding the ios device had to chase the movement of the headset to be able to trigger the AR control panel.
  • The HMD wearer didn’t feel any uncomfortable when wearing the headset and their body movement is pretty natural.
  • The HMD wearer tried to walk around and wondered the interactions in the VR.
  • The observer with the ios device had some difficult to touch the button in the AR app.
  • The sound in the VR scene is not loud enough.
  • Some people have some difficulties to adjust their eye focus in VR, I need to tell them to watch trees that far away, which helped a lot.

Feedback:

  • The headset is not heavy at all, It’s quite comfortable to wear.
  • I would prefer more instructions from you.
  • The menu in AR app is too small.
  • I wonder why there is a campfire on the headset.
  • The sound is too low, I can’t hear anything.
  • I wonder If there is any interaction I can do in VR.
  • If I were a rabbit, I would prefer to see my pink noise, furry feet and pows when I look down.
  • Wow, I feel like I am so small like a rabbit.
  • I prefer the small movements of the ears, I feel like the big movements are too robotics.
  • I can see some shadow of trees is pink.
  • I wonder if a rabbit can turn their neck at such a big angle.
  • I found the graphics in VR are a bit rough.
  • I feel it’s a bit blur in VR.
  • Your headset can’t fit me, I can’t see it well.

Relations to the research question:

At this stage, I have extra research questions to examine, this extra research questions coming out during my design process to make this prototype:

  1. How to make shared awareness in a VR experience between HMD wearer and other observers by merging other existing emerging technologies?
  2. How to use speculative design as a tool to explore mobile-rendered mixed reality HMD for the future?
  3. How to make active communications and interactions between HMD wearer and other observers
  4. How to overcome the trust issues between HMD wearer and other observers?
  5. How to use game design to set the goals, constraints in the shared VR experience?
  6. How to discuss the relationship between human and animals by showing different perspectives in a shared VR experience?
  7. How to speculate a background story as the narrative cues to improve the shared VR experience?
  8. How to incorporate cyberculture and cyberpunk in the design process and speculative story?

This prototype provides three different perspectives on the participants. These perspectives including the HMD wearer, the AR observer and other observers (Who didn’t have access to any device). The shared awareness between the HMD wearer and other observer was examined through the following parts:

  • The speculative background story and roleplaying
  • The interactions of AR and components on the HMD
  • The design/appearance of the HMD
  • The design/appearance of augmented HMD wearer

Reflections:

I have run the user testing for this prototype five times which covered a larger range of testers including myself, my cohorts, strangers, professors and VR experts. I found the user testing is so useful and contributed more to my design. For example, the speculative story came up after the first rounds of user testing on Tuesday because my testers didn’t have a clear idea of what they can do ( also happened in my physical prototype), so I think it’s important to make an instruction to my testers in a more interesting way. Based on the past experience on the physical prototype, I designed a role-play futurist scenario for everyone to position themselves to be part of this experience. Furthermore, It helped me to find a way to combine my theoretical framework of cybernetics, speculative design and set an artistic style (cyberpunk) for me to work on further for the next interactions.

3.Future plan and next steps:

I want to keep working on a more consistent cyberpunk style, for example, the representation of the rabbit should be aligned with the rest of the other design. I want to find a way to solve the issue of the VR distortion that happened to different people, it’s interesting to know that it didn’t happen on the user testing on my cohorts, but it did happen on the VR experts. The speculative story seems to make more sense as part of the experience, I would like to work more on that to see if it will help to improve the shared awareness and human-animal relationship. Furthermore, I definitely want to make the interactions and communications between VR and AR, for example, simulate what happened in my physical prototypes to make it digital like moving objects around in the VR scene.

 

 

 

Test Report

Updated Research Questions:

  1. How to improve the limited VR experiences of individual immersion for an interactive art project?
  2. How to make shared awareness in a VR experience between HMD wearer and other observers by merging other existing emerging technologies?
  3. How to use speculative design as a tool to explore mobile-rendered mixed reality HMD for the future?
  4. How to make active communications and interactions between HMD wearer and other observers to overcome the trust issues?
  5. How to use game design methods to set the goals, constraints in the shared VR experiences?
  6. How to discuss the relationship between human and animals by showing different perspectives in a shared VR experience?

The purpose of this user testing is to gain some useful feedback to examine my main research question about the shared awareness between HMD wearer and other audiences to further improve the experience. From more technical part of this user testing, I want to test out the wearability of my headset, the usability of the AR app, the functionality of the IoT communications. Beyond that, I also want to test the artistic concept behind relationship and different perspectives of human and animals.

Prototype:

HMD wearer: A DIY VR headset with LEDs, servos and felts marker. An Android device that running VR scene with the designed rabbit’s vision to be placed inside the headset.

Observer: A ios device that running AR app which can control the components on the headset.

User flow:

  1. HMD wearer put on the headset
  2. Observer launch the AR app
  3. Observer touch the ON button on AR app
  4. LED on the headset turn on and motors move
  5. Observer touch the OFF button on AR app
  6. LED on the headset turn off

Types of my user testers:

  • Self-testing
  • My cohorts
  • Professors
  • People I don’t know

Before the formal testing on Tuesday, I tested my prototype on myself and my friend both as an HMD wearer and observer. I was aiming to make the VR scene moving like a rabbit but both of us were feeling very sick when the VR camera bouncing and moving forward. As a consequence, I decided to remove the ability to move in VR for my user testing. On Tuesday, our class ran a user testing session with my cohorts and professors. After that, I also asked someone who completely has no idea of my thesis to test out my prototype.

Methods of user-testing:

  • One-to-one testing
  • Interview
  • Open discussion

 

 

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In-session observations

  • The HMD wearer moved their head in a large-range once they put on the headset to look around in the VR. The observer who is holding the ios device had to chase the movement of the headset to be able to trigger the AR control panel.
  • The HMD wearer didn’t feel any uncomfortable when wearing the headset and their body movement is pretty natural.
  • The HMD wearer tried to walk around and wondered the interactions in the VR.
  • The observer with the ios device had some difficult to touch the button in the AR app.
  • The sound in the VR scene is not loud enough.
  • Some people have some difficulties to adjust their eye focus in VR, I need to tell them to watch trees that far away, which helped a lot.

Questions and interviews

To HMD wearer:

  1. How do you feel like as a rabbit in VR?
  2. How do you find the VR scene?
  3. How do you feel like when the ears are moving?
  4. Do you feel any uncomfortable when wearing the headset?
  5. Is the headset heavy to you?

To AR App observer:

  1. Do you find the app to be difficult to use?
  2. How do you feel when you can interact with the HMD wearer?

Feedbacks and Answers:

  • The headset is not heavy at all, It’s quite comfortable to wear.
  • I would prefer more instructions from you.
  • The menu in AR app is too small.
  • I wonder why there is a campfire on the headset.
  • The sound is too low, I can’t hear anything.
  • I wonder If there is any interaction I can do in VR.
  • If I were a rabbit, I would prefer to see my pink noise, furry feet and pows when I look down.
  • Wow I feel like I am so small like a rabbit.
  • I prefer the small movements of the ears, I feel like the big movements are too robotics.
  • I can see some shadow of trees is pink.
  • I wonder if a rabbit can turn their neck at such a big angle.
  • I found the graphics in VR are a bit rough.
  • I feel it’s a bit blur in VR.

Reflections and Revision ideas

Based on the feedback I received from the testers, firstly I want to speculate a background story which can both be instructions for the participants but also to immerse my participants in a cyberculture futurist setup and further introduce the idea of human-animal perspectives.

Secondly, I would like to improve both the AR and VR apps. For VR, I want to add a lab scene outside the forest to make sense of my background story and also improve the graphics quality. For AR, I want to replace the small buttons with a 3D rabbit model, so instead of touching on the buttons, my user can touch the specific parts of the rabbit model to interact with the corresponding parts on the headset.

Adding background story:

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Today is 26th July 2038, My name is Yiyi Shao, I’m the chief scientist at AniBot Lab. Welcome welcome! It’s an exciting day to the public our new project RabBot. We implanted two robotics ears and eyes to our test subject. It’s still the first stage of our experiment, but we saw a remarkable success. Now may I invite our guest to wake up RabBot1.0.

Overall, I found the user testing is very useful to my thesis. It helped me to find a way to combine my theoretical framework of cybernetics, speculative design and my research question about shared awareness between HMD wearer and other observers. It also helped me set the artistic style that I intend to incorporate into my design. Beyond that, I gained the positive results from the RTD, UCD, agile methodology I want to use for my thesis, the design and research contributes to each other to examine my research questions. From the user testing feedback, I understand more on what the HMD wearer and other observer expect to interact and communicate with each other. And all of the results will be revised on my next steps of prototypes.

Design thinking and ideation methods

  • Prototype Name: Shared Awareness in VR
  • What happened: Roleplay physical game to simulate the scenario of communications and interactions between HMD wearer and other audience. The blindfolded player can figure out a strategy and win very qucikly.
  • Impression: Physical tasks worked very well, vocal commands are useful, demands on more physical interactions, succinct and encoded communications
  • What I learned: Lack of constraints/restrictions on players, interaction patterns for replayability (Comments from cohorts: A want for physical interaction between viewer & VR user)
  • What next: Moving on to a digital version with more constraints. (Comments from cohorts: Technology development or game development? Which elements of the physical experiment are you looking to preserve? How do people not in VR play in the same game?)IMG_4748

Reflective story after physical Prototype:

Through my physical prototype, the most important thing I have learned is developing better constraints system both for the HMD wearer and other audiences in the VR experience. Because what happened for most tests is that the blindfolded player can figure out a strategy very quickly to follow the commands and against all the interruptions. The interrupter either kind of gave up in the end or don’t know what to do or hesitate what they were doing is appropriate or not. This also made me think of the passive and active interactions/scenarios that may happen in my final prototype. What if the other audiences don’t really want to interact with the HMD wearer? Are there any interactions/experiences I can design to encourage my players to be more engaged in the VR experience?

Failure:

Until now, I do have a failure from my very first prototype, which is the internet issue. Because the whole communication system is based on IoT, if the internet goes down or very bad, it will have a significant influence on the whole experience, which happened once when I demonstrate my first prototype to my supervisor. I am considering setting up a local route for my final prototype.

IMG_4768Verbs:

HMD wearer: Stomp, Walk, Crunch, Jump

Other audience: Watch, Tap, Hold, Swipe

Value:

Awareness + Cooperation

When I wrote down the verbs for my players, I considered both the HMD wearer and other audiences. As I am thinking to make the game characters to be animals who have social behaviors like rabbits, so I mainly use the verbs that rabbits would have, such as stomp, walk, crunch and jump. And for other audiences, I mainly use some verbs for the interactions on the smartphone, such as watch, tap, hold, swipe. There are surely more verbs I would use for both users, but I would like to start with these simple ones first to test out. The values I choose for my prototype are awareness and cooperation because the main purpose for my thesis is making shared awareness between the HMD wearer and other audiences. And after my physical prototype, I found the cooperation between two kinds of users are quite interesting.

For the next steps of the prototype, I intend to make a VR and AR multiplayer experimental game based on the feedbacks of possible interactions I received from my physical role-play game prototype. I will first sketch out a more clear game flow diagram and then start to develop in Unity3D with downloaded 3d assets mainly focused on the social animal scenario that more related to my headset prototype. For the goal of this round of prototype, I am hoping to rerun the group test to investigate the passive and active digital interactions in the VR experience between HMD wearer and other audiences.

Week#1 Prototype

On Day1 at CFC, we were sitting in a circle and talking about our thesis idea. Ana Serrano, founder of CFC Media Lab gave each of us some suggestions for the prototype.

Ana recommendations for me:

Interested in VR shared space but prototype already built puts other users in AR space, why? Assumption is that single player VR dominant for a while and therefore finding other ways of engaging audience. How to design for mixed audience and shared experience between both groups?

Perhaps focus on role between those inside and outside of headset?

Need to look at rationale before playing with technology.

Ana’s suggestions are really useful. So for this rounds of prototyping, I am thinking to put aside the technical parts for a moment and really focused on the actual experiences and contents for my thesis based on the fact that I have already made a very basic functional prototype with the communications between AR and a headset. But I am lack of the context and experiences, which is the core soul of an interactive art project. 

On Day2 at CFC, I am planning to do the following for my prototype and we were also writing topics on our poster and to see the suggestions from my cohorts.

  • Sketch out different experiences of user flows for HMD wearer and other audiences to figure out what possible interactions could be and add to my design process.
  • Think Aloud Testing to test out if the interactions will be applicable to add into the experience.
Scanned Documents_Page_1
Prototype suggestions from my cohorts

Suggestions from my corhorts:

  • Role Play
  • Use case Diagram
  • Storyboard
  • Charades
  • Ask people if they would use your concept
  • Concept testing to get ideas of interations people would want
  • Storyboarding for a multi-player game people who is wearing VR and people who is not, need to work together to complete a goal. Observe the interations between them.
  • Asymmetric design
  • Hapic feedback
  • Think of physical interactions between person in + persons out

So based on the suggestions from my cohorts, I am thinking to design a physical game to test out the relationships and possible interactions between HMD wearer and other audiences. Here is my prototype map:

IMG_4673
My Prototype Mindmap

 

IMG_4674
Physical Game Sketch

Day3 at CFC, prototyping a physical game:

Split my classmates into a group of three people, person A to be a player, person B to be an interrupter, person C to be a commander. Each round lasts for 3 minutes. If person A reached the destination, commander win. If person A didn’t reach the destination, interrupter win. Switch the positions for three times.

Person A – Player: You will be blindfolded and you need to reach out to the destination by the commands made by the commander, you can completely trust him/her and they will make you safe.

Person B – Interrupter: You are allowed to make sounds, move chairs around and touch person A. Your goal is to try your best to prevent Person A to reach the destination.

Person C – Commander: You need to make clear commands to person A and help him/her to reach the destination. Your responsibility is to make person A safe and don’t make him/her stumbled and fall down.

Round 1

  • Player: Sana
  • Commander: Jad
  • Interrupter: Feng

Q: Have you tried VR before? Is it reminding you about a VR experience?

A: Jad: It reminded me of cars getting to an intersection. But for VR, no.

Sana: Yes, it makes me feel like when I have a headset and I have no idea what’s going on in the real world. It is like it would be a situation that I need to move in VR and also move physically.

Feng; For me, I feel like I am not the person who is in the VR but I feel like I am the person who is watching the people playing VR. I don’t know what should I do properly to that person

Q to Feng: What do you think the most effective action you did to prevent Sana to reach her destination?

A from Feng: Moving chairs around to stuck Sana. But I am not sure if I am allowed to touch her or move her to comfuse her of the right direction. I feel like it could be interesting if Sana doesn’t know who is the commander, I can fake the commands.

Q to Sana: What is the most difficult part for you in the entire process?

A from Sana: I think the worst scenario would be the commander don’t have vocal cues and only through touch that would be very difficult. For now, I can filter out what Feng was doing just focus on Jad’s voice.

Round 2

  • Player: Emma
  • Commander: Quinn
  • Interrupter: Sana

Q to Emma: Have you tried VR before? Is this game remind you of VR?

A from Emma: Yes, I have. Yeah, the display of it for sure.

Q to Emma: What is the most difficult part for you to reach the final destination?

A from Emma: When the vision is gone, to completely trust Quinn’s command.

Q to Quinn: What more help you wish to have to help Emma’s to reach the destination?

A from Quinn: Maybe tell her what in front of her, so she feels safer. Use more clear commands. I wish I can figure what the left and right to her instead of myself.

Q to Sana: What more you wish you can do to interrupt?

A from Sana: I felt like I interrupted a lot, but at some point I was like ok that’s enough. I think vocally to interrupt is important because again that’s the only connection they have.

Round 3

  • Player: Ramona
  • Commander: Max
  • Interrupter: Chris

Q to Ramona: Have you tried VR before? Is it remind you of any VR experiences?

A from Ramona: Yes I have. I feel like when I hit something, it’s like the same feeling. When in VR, I know there are targets that I know which I can interact with, but for this I am completely blind.

Q to Ramona: What is the most difficult part for you to reach the final destination?

A from Ramona: There are so many voices in this space including Max and Chris, I just want to focus. And there are so many things happened, I don’t know what’s the cord was. I just have no idea of what are all around me.

Q to Chris: What do you think the most effective action you did in the whole process?

A from Chris: I think the physical opticals, because everything else she can use her intelligence to figure out. If I’m trying to be very loud, she can just focus more on Max’s command

Q to Chris: What more thing you wish you can do to interrupt?

A from Chris: Very loud voices. A bucket of water will thrill her out. Spinning around  her. A room can spin would be wonderful. If everything Max said was a lie. A score system for me, more tasks for her.

Q to Max: What the most effective way you did to help her to get the final destination?

A from Max: I feel like the direction commands are the best. If we can make a code communication system to make my command as succinctly as it could be.

Q to Max: What more thing you wish you can do to help the process?

A from Max: A secret signal only between me and Ramona that Chris would have no ideas what we were talking.

Round 4

  • Player: Ana
  • Commander: Emma
  • Interrupter: Dikla

Q to Ana: Have you tried VR before? Is it remind you of any VR experiences?

A from Ana: Yes, but not at all.

Q to Ana: What is the most difficult part for you to reach the final destination?

A from Ana: No I don’t find it’s difficult because of the commands that coming from Emma.

Q to Ana: What other thing you wish you could have to get the final destination?

A from Ana: Maybe a stick so I can anticipate what are the things in font of me.

Emma: I think It’s interesting that you build strategies very quickly to keep yourself safe. One of thing is the speed of you moved and how you moved. There are couple of moments I thought I didn’t give you enough signals.

Ana: The one thing I found difficult is not knowing if it’s Emma’s left or my left.

Q to Dikla: What are the most effective ways you did to stop Ana to get to the final destination?

A from Dikla: The physical space, once where she doesn’t know where am I, she will slow down. The physical touch will not be comfortable.

Emma: At the end It’s about your interactions with each other, not really about what I said and the boundaries. It’s interesting to see what it is shifting.

Q to Emma: What other things you wish you could have to help to guide Ana to the destination?

A from Emma: I think I should establish whose left at the beginning and that would be helpful. More intensive of the opticals to guide Ana through chairs. Once the physical interactions happened, it start to change the dynamic and responsibility of me.

Ana: If you make a constrain like every time I touched chairs, I would get punished or ask to stay for two seconds, because these physical barriers can be moved and I can pushed the interrupter. If every time I touch something and there is counter that would freak me out more and in this way I would listen more to the commander.

Emma: Do you think Yiyi should stay in this physical setup because these interactions could be produced in VR quite quickly. How to introduce Yiyi to VR test because she is interesting in the interactions between immerser and non-immersers.

Ana: I think the physical tasks actually worked. I would do one more time when the constrains are very tight. So it could be like when you have a timer, and I could hear tick-tack for a period of time, if I hit something I need to stay still. If you consider the most amount of constrains and that’s about the immerser and non-immersers. For example,  the immerser will move when something fly to him/her.

Q to Ana: One of the things that allowing interrupter to touch is to test if it will be good to add haptic feedback into the interactions? Do you think it can work?

Ana: I don’t think it’s necessary. It instead reminds me a scifi movie about repeat moving patterns to fight aliens. That could be the key of the reparability of the whole experience of memorizing the spatial configuration.

Emma: You can always think about the feedback sense later once you situated how you want the feedbacks. Because the good things about body configuration that has enough signals. Putting the force feedback can happened a little bit later once you’ve figured out how the communications would be.

Ana: The cool thing is you are creating a collaborative play that all the three people need to come up with a strategy to cover up the whole space and merged.

 

3 Related Projects

Electronic Textiles as Tangible Interface for Virtual Reality.  By Tyagi Shreeya (Previous DF Thesis)

What?

Shreeya’s thesis developed a set of the e-textile interface to be an unconventional controller for a 3D visual asset that is composed of a real-world physical haptic interface rendered within virtual reality. She created an identical 3D, virtual, model of the physical table. The textile objects on the table were computationally augmented with soft e-textile sensors that allowed for change and deformation. The sensors capture participant data as they explore the tangibility of the electronic textile interface.

Why?

Because current virtual reality spaces suffer from a lack of diversity in tactile and haptic interactions. Physical interactions in these spaces are mainly through handheld plastic controllers, which feature buttons and force feedback cues. Her thesis attempts to establish a connection between the user and the virtual space through haptic interference by the addition of soft touch based interfaces that act as controllers to virtual objects (3D visual assets) in virtual reality.

How?

Her e-textile interfaces have been created by two methods, embedding sensors in textiles and creating sensors from conductive and resistive textile materials and fabrics. She used RTD (Research Through Design) methodology by researching, conceptualizing, creating, and testing in an iterative manner. Her thesis explored the Framework of Tangible User Interfaces and theories of Active Touch and Haptic Visual overlap.

So what?

Shreeya’s thesis aims to address better interfaces in Human-Computer Interaction that can be further applied to design within virtual reality. By creating devices that easily transmit and share data, she thinks that human is teaching computers how to process and retain information about oneself. Virtual reality will soon exist as a parallel and alternate reality where people will spend large amounts of time in a digital created and curated environment. These environments will be efficient spaces to work, shop, entertainment, and coordinate with other people and we will access them through our existing physical environment.

Artificial Nature: Inhabitat.  By Haru Ji and Graham Wakefield

inhabitat-0
Image source from: http://www.artificialnature.net/

What?

Inhabitat was one of the research projects and an evolving series of art installations. Inhabitat offers a poetic, interactive experience of a mixed reality landscape with a virtual ecosystem that is populated by artificial organisms whose rules can be rewritten while participants interact within them. The artists have built in a feature to directly engage other audiences, by making their creatures vulnerable to extinction by the shadows that people cast when walking through the installation. This project has two perspectives, one is the HMD wearer who has the perspectives of the organism living in the artificial ecosystem, another one is participants who have the godlike perspectives.

Why?

Because this project synthesizes new “artificial natures”: installations integrating software models drawn from systems biology, artificial intelligence, and other biologically inspired sciences, with immersive virtual- and mixed-reality environments in physical space, such that humans take upon new roles within adaptive ecosystems.  The artificial ecosystem presents a computational world with its own physics and biology, within which visitors interact to become essential participants within the system. An ultimate goal is to bring the generative capacity of computation into an experiential level reminiscent of, yet different to, the open-endedness of the natural world; to evoke extended aesthetic experiences that recapitulate something akin to the child-like wonder regarding the complexity, beauty, and sublimity of nature.

How?

This research focuses on the creation of worlds from within VR, addressing three complementary axes: 1) a symbolic-algorithmic axis of rewriting the code of a world while immersed within it, as a new direction of live coding, 2) an embodied axis, augmenting hand and body gestures-in-motion with dynamics-driven simulation to create far richer and more complex forms that nevertheless retain the gestural nuances of the creator, and 3) collaborative methods to co-author worlds as a social process, in real-time. It will result in rigorously researched interaction models, transferable technologies, and unique training in emerging digital media.

So What?

To develop a deeper understanding of emergence and creativity as a form of art, study and play, by taking inspiration from nature’s creativity but recognizing the potential of natural creation beyond the known and the physical, pioneering heightened levels of human-machine interaction and intensified aesthetic experience through meaningful engagement using the whole body.

Shooting Game. By E-GO

IMG_4619

IMG_4620
Image source from: http://www.sohu.com/a/204976575_555194

What?

Shooting Game simultaneously demonstrates two parallel worlds by blurring the boundary between virtual reality and real life, which renders the work a profound sense of immersions. A participator was led onto a platform surrounded by projections on all four sides. He then started a light-hearted shooting game, where the shooter was applauded by the system every time he shot a paperman target. Meanwhile, on the other side of the screens, the lifeless targets were transformed into realistic images of children. Audience standing on the outer circle were able to hear their screams and saw them dropping dead onto the ground. Yet the shooter remained oblivious to this, until at the end of the VR game when the screen finally showed a name list of the children he shot dead, actually the true victims shot dead in wars, and playback the whole shooting process.

Why?

By creating interactive systems that demystify digital technology for creators and performers, the artists are attempting to overcome the solipsism of single-user experiences, producing a more intuitive mode of engagement that will fundamentally define the technologies of the future. The project is designed to challenge the theatrical mind, allowing users to create narratives and gestures mush as they would in real-world space, but with an added layer of limitless virtual possibilities.

How?

The artists are using the method of exploring the untapped potential of MIXED REALITY technology as a real-world tool for immersive storytelling and audience engagement. This project uses VR as the main computer media to investigate the different perspectives of narrative structure.

So What?

Shooting Game intends to trigger reflections upon subjectiveness and objectiveness through clashes between virtual and real worlds. It is questioning the diversity of life forms. One’s standard is different from another perspective or under another circumstance and even could be judged as totally inappropriate or even immoral. Shooting game also provided VR as a valuable tool to simulate and study violent behaviors.