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VR Home: Virtual Spaces

Project Manager | Verizon + Carnegie Mellon University | Summer 2018

This VR Research project kicked off an exploration of virtual spaces and the interesting intersections that happen when they merge with real-world, inhabited spaces. I led a team of seven research assistants as we prototyped and playtested VR rooms as extensions of people's real-world homes. 

There were several concepts that became key to our prototypes, these included continuity between the real world and virtual world, a focus on thresholds, and the creating a sense of comfort or trust is these space. We explored including point-cloud versions of external guests in VR spaces through a depth-sensing camera, the Intel RealSense. We used overlapping virtual and real-world props in order to explore breaking boundaries between the two types of space. We even tested the use of heat and scent in the same context.

In order to understand user needs related to home, we conducted 30 interviews, 12 co-design sessions, and 40 playtests with custom VR experiences. Key insights included our familiarity-community-security framework, as well as the concept of rootedness as a critical user variable. A paper describing our findings in more detail is currently under review for DIS 2019. 

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