Tangible Building Blocks in VR


This is my first post here as a new lab member of Future Reality Lab! I’m Adlan Ramly, a graduate student majoring in Integrated Digital Media specializing in Human Centered Design & Research for Emerging Technologies. Previously I interned at The Smithsonian Institution as a Creative Technologist where I worked on ExplorAR: A Collaborative AR Game Platform for Museums which recently got selected to participate in Niantic’s Developer Contest.

We are currently creating a science fiction-inspired shared space virtual reality experience that utilizes a full-body avatar with inside-out tracking using the Oculus Quest. While the other lab members are currently building the full-body avatar with inside-out tracking, I’m currently looking ways how to create tangible building blocks for a collaborative virtual reality experience which is complimentary to the full-body avatar that can maximize the controllers-free experience. Instead of interacting and manipulating virtual objects with controllers, these blocks enable users to touch and feel the objects with their own hands. If these modular blocks connect, they will turn into an interactive object in virtual reality. As illustrated, you can connect these blocks to create a portal to another world or build an electrical circuit to light your path. These blocks could be used for interactive social experiences with entertainment and educational values.

I have gathered materials for the prototype which consists of recycled cardboard boxes of different sizes and a roll of velcro tape. Tracking shared objects in VR is the current challenge, would it be tracked by QR code markers or a bluetooth-based IMU? These are the sketches of how it would look like if the tracking method is done by QR code markers. Stay tuned for more progress!

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