We set out to explore modes of interaction between users immersed in VR with a Head Mounted Display, and users with an external, third-person perspective using a multi-touch display. The design intent was to draw awareness to the differences in scale and perspective, engaging users in a process of collaboration that requires navigation and communication across the two modalities and encourages awareness of both digital and physical experience.
The current outcome is a networked multi-user VR collaboration space that encourages experimental making and play through collective creation, assembly, and recording. A mobile web app is used to upload images, sound, and video, as well as 3d models, in real time, to contribute to a growing and malleable virtual world. Inside this world, users can move, combine, and attribute physical properties to objects, videos, and sounds. Recording these movements, users can create animations, drawings, and spatial soundscapes. Objects take on meaning through the users’ intent, creating associations through composition and movement in the virtual space. The system can be used for staging games, collective sense-making, storytelling, or other purposes to be discovered.
Critical thinking and research in the domain of humane technology can include ongoing study of the design of interfaces; the design of modes of interaction; the design of technology that can enable us to freely converse between physical and digital constructs. Developing systems that promote reflection by its users on how we understand our engagement with systems and how we can engage with one another through a system, benefits from focusing on the attributes that support or expose a deeper dialog about the mechanisms operating to enable that engagement.