What VR may add to a physical interaction

Friday, March 19, 2021

Daniel Harley, professor at the Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business and Games Institute faculty member, co-authored “Playing by Ear: Designing for the Physical in a Sound-Based Virtual Reality Narrative” with Aneesh P. Tarun, Bonnie J. Stinson, Tudor Tibu, and Ali Mazalek.

Person using VR headset and interacting with physical object like a tree, with screenshot of VR experience beside it.

Published in the Association for Computing Machinery’s Tangible and Embedded Interaction Conference proceedings, the article explores how to extend the design space for virtual reality (VR) by creating sensory experiences beyond those provided by the system. Using a research through design approach and a user study, the authors developed two narrative VR experiences to explore physical and sound-based interactions within VR.

Rather than ask what the physical might add to VR, we asked what VR might add to a physical interaction.

- Harley, Tarun, Stinson, Tibu, and Mazalek.

“For us, prioritizing the physical helped to draw links between current VR design and prior work that considers physical-digital interactions and spaces,” note the authors. "We propose that a focus on the actions the player is asked to perform (e.g., touch, stand, kneel, grasp, walk, listen, reach, dance) can contribute to an understanding of VR as a sensory, embodied medium that offers ways to playfully engage with physical reality rather than simulate it entirely."


Read the full article.

This article originally appeared on the Games Institute website and has been adapted for the Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business.

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