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!


Crashing of the Costa Concordia in VR

The conviction of a cruise ship captain that capsized in Italy made headlines again this week as Italian courts ruled that the captain was at fault for this accident. As sad as this story has been, I remember seeing footage of the ship going underwater in 2012 and wondering what it must have been like for the 4,200 passengers inside.

I think this would make a compelling Virtual Reality story because of the strong visuals and experiential content.


Hypothesis: Offering a 360, VR tour of the Costa Concordia ship before and during its capsizing would give viewers the opportunity to become closer with the layout and better understand how frightening the experience of being overturned and sinking would have been for passengers.

Similarly, to the Feguson VR story, this VR experience would have strong, suggestive content that may not be appropriate for all audiences and would need to be labeled as such.  I believe that creating a VR story on this topic would have certainly affected the minds of some jurors in the captains court case, which may or may not be the first measure of success for this story.

Another measure to determine the success of this story would be to identify the areas explored by viewers of this story.  The article stated that the ship crashed during dinner when most passengers were in the dining area—I would like to know if VR viewers would like to experience the simulation there or from other areas of the ship like the captains’ chair or somewhere else.

Although this is a grave and scary story to recount, I believe it is one that has strong enough sensory content, making it ideal for VR.