It’s not often that we get the chance to demonstrate what we’re working on as, in education, it’s more about the finished product and conclusions. Nevertheless, during the HEaTED East of England network event , we were given the opportunity to allow people to wonder around a bespoke 3D environment while using our HTC Vive headset and touch controllers. We used the controllers themselves to emulate the functional behaviours of a smartphone. The reactions were all positive and I managed to have chats with some senior managers about where it is we’re hoping to take our vision for VR at the University.
You can find a brief video depicting the space below:
The idea was to illustrate how intuitive behaviours can be replicated inside a 3D space to allow for simple interactions. A lot of people tend to be confused by their initial transition into a virtual world but by including recognisable elements, it makes the experience much less daunting. It’s for that reason the 3D environment in question is a lecture theatre, based on a real-world equivalent, only a few metres away from the stand. This made the experience all the more compelling as, after having spent a few minutes in the 3D version, the attendees would then enter the same room shortly afterwards.
We’re going to be demonstrating again in the near future in a bid to capture the imagination of a few academics. VR promises a lot of interesting things, everything from multi-user role-playing exercises between people in two different locations (partner institutions overseas) to single-user familiarisation exercises. We’re hoping to establish some more usage case scenarios.