Turning My Field Test Ideas into [Virtual] Reality

A big part of my field test is using photogrammetry to create 3D avatars and highly detailed fashion designs to scale.  While I believe that virtual dressings rooms could be a viable solution to the online shopping industry, I’m learning that designing this emerging technology is an ambitious project for someone who could barely import objects into a 3D landscape.

So far, I’ve managed to collect data in support of my hypothesis that there is a much higher rate of return from online purchases than in-store shopping—30% compared to 9% in 2015 (Invespcro).   I’ve also started developing a brief survey which I plan to distribute to my test subjects in this field test to determine their level of interest in utilizing the virtual dressing room technology and personal avatar that I plan to create—questions included are intended to measure whether or not an individual would invest in having a personal avatar created, how much time they might spend customizing their avatar and if they would trust results provided by their avatar when making online shopping decisions.

Sample Survey Questions:

  1. Would you spend time making your own custom avatar?
  2. Would you pay for a customized avatar of yourself?
  3. Would you use an avatar for online shopping?
  4. Would you trust an avatar dressing room?
  5. Would you expect retailers to begin offer this as a service?

All of the above steps in my field test seem to be the easy stuff—it’s actually using 3D landscapes and photogrammetry to recreate a representative likeness of individuals that I’m most nervous about as I continue on with my field test.  Through my research I’m learning that there are much more practical uses for VR than just gaming, but it’s certainly not easy.  Wish me luck!

Using sensors to create a story

For many adults, work seems to be the most stressful aspect of their lives. Whether the cause is not getting along with colleagues, heavy workloads or work that is life-changing and complex, they each have a similar effect on us.  Being more transparent about careers or companies that seem to cause the most stress could be valuable information for students deciding on a career field, recruitment strategies and health care industries to name a few. Using Single Lead Heart Rate Monitors, I would use information collected from various employees in range of industries to spot trends and make some generalizations about most stressful careers.  I think that a story like this would gain a lot of attention as well as have a high probability of remaining relevant for quite some time.

In a field test, a version of the Single Lead Heart Rate Monitor will be given to employees of all levels in Tech, Academia, Finance, Medical, Entertainment, Fashion and other fields. Sensor data will be collected to track the heart rate which will be linked to stress levels for Senior to administrative level employees.  My hypothesis is that attention will be drawn to stress levels of mid-level employees that often seem to bear the burden of executing the most tasks with limited resources, causing the most stress.

Heart Monitor.jpg

I hope that a story like this would encourage employers to reevaluate work environments and create more opportunities that young adults will be excited pursue.

Navigating Foreign Land

Full disclosure—I don’t play video games and I’m only familiar enough with my computer to let Netflix know I’m still watching and create the occasional spreadsheet or presentation for school and work.  I use my computer at the most basic level so when I was assigned to build a landscape in Unity3D I had no idea what I was in store for.

My first attempt on Saturday afternoon was met with confusion and a certainty that I downloaded a bum version because even following along with the instructions word-for-word, it seemed like my version had lots of missing elements. After deleting the software and downloading a second time, I still had no idea what I was doing so I called it quits for the day.  I came back determined to finish on Sunday evening, only because I had to. I watched, re-watched, paused and repeated the instructional video no less than 60 times trying to figure out why my terrain looked different or why I couldn’t view the sky and why the move tools were so hard to maneuver! It was really, really frustrating. Once I finally started to make some progress with smoothing out my mountains and downloading the perfect skybox and I thought I sort of knew what I was doing, but after putting in the 1st controller to move around inside my new world, I realized I had only gotten this far by chance apparently, because I still really didn’t have an understanding of how I got that far. The navigation tools in Unity3D were not easy for me to work with—I never quite understood where I was in my landscape or how to get where I thought I needed to be. I didn’t find the site to be very intuitive because I got lost, stuck and frustrated more times than I ever have in my life and I’m terrible with directions so that’s really saying something.

With all that said, once finally I exported my scene and started interacting with it on my desktop I felt extremely accomplished. I finally heard the walking movements and I could use my standard arrow keys to move forward and change directions. Now that its over, I love my little landscape–this foreign land was hard to create but I think it turned out quite nicely.  My only disappointment is that when recording my screen with Quicktime, I couldn’t capture the walking step sounds.  This was very hard for me and I have a new appreciation for video game and virtual reality developers.  Check out my Unity3D fantasy world below and let me know what you think.

No More Couch Potatoes

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved the experience of watching TV; the act itself isn’t especially exciting, rather it’s the content that often defines whether or not those 30 minutes to an hour were well spent. When I started my career with A+E Networks, I was ecstatic to be a part [any part], of the television creation process. What was once just mindless consumption on my end, this new position gave me a new perspective on the TV watching and its evolution.

Watching TV is often considered a lazy activity, with words like binging or couch potato often being used to describe avid TV watchers. With the integration of Virtual Reality technology into the television programming space, I believe these terms may no longer have the same relevance. This week in my graduate coursework, we discussed Virtual Reality and how it’s being used to allow people to step into augmented worlds; well in my mind, that’s exactly what happens when you’re watching a great TV show, so these two types of technology seem like a match made in heaven.

halolens

How brilliant would it be unbox a new pair of HaloLens glasses and program them to your favorite television network—what could happen next? Maybe you’d turn on the latest episode of The Walking Dead and you’d begin seeing everything through the eyes of a zombie; your living room would be transformed with each scene and you could experience all the action happening around you. Perhaps you could be a detective on an episode of Law & Order—the possibilities are endless and kind of fun to think about!  These are experiences that I believe are totally realistic as Virtual Reality continues to mature and other technologies begin adopting their own VR capabilities. In my professional world, this means a great deal of reorganization and creative work for studios and networks, but if it means we all get off the couch and start interacting with our TV sets, then what does anyone have to lose?

Zombie