Designing Immersive Virtual Environments
Historic Virtual Reality (VR) experiences provide an opportunity for participants to re-visit historic periods and re-live moments that helped transform society and the world around us. In virtual house museums, participants can interact with historic artifacts in a way often prohibited within real museums, creating a richer sense of immersion and presence. VR ability to facilitate realistic human-computer interaction (HCI) has made it a powerful instrument for building empathy. In virtual house museums, participants can walk in the steps of historic figures and experience the past through their eyes. Such experiences can contribute to improving participants’ satisfaction, self-interpretation, and understanding of the homeowner’s life and the community within which they lived.
For this project, students worked in teams to develop a virtual reality house museum experience. The experiences were based around one of the six types of house museums (Young, 2016). Students conducted and presented research on their chosen event/context, designed and developed assets for their museum using Maya, and created rough prototypes using Panaform. Students developed the final VR experience for the Oculus Quest using Unity Game Engine. Each experience was room-scale and addressed one social implication that might prevent participants from experiencing their virtual museum. Implications included hearing and mobility impairments, language, and other communicative barriers. Teams also developed pre and post headset activities to complement their VR experience.
The Virtual Museum project is an extention of my History Re-Experienced Master's Thesis.
High-Fidelity VR experience prototype developed for the Oculus Quest