Imagine the Future
Imagine the Future is a a Virtual Reality experience, for people who would like to see how the world will feel like after Global Warming. It provides informations, visualizations, calls to action, and what is the most powerful, empathetic immersion.
My thesis connects Experiential Learning Theory, put into practice, with new technology - a Storytelling Dimension Machine. The outcome, a new medium for exploration of intangible concepts, enables one to experience virtual time and space travel. The advisors for the project were Haakon Faste and JD Beltran.
1. Global warming — context
Global warming will affect many regions in the world. Not only the places far from us, such us north and south poles, but also the environments we live in right now.
The global temperatures rise, sea level rises, air pollution becomes worse and worse. This together with overpopulation can lead to many changes for everyone on this planet.
One of the inspirations for me was a study done by Stanford’s Virtual Human Interactions Lab, which allowed users take control over environment by cutting the tree. It turned out that such experience made users more aware of their actions than simply reading about the topic.
4. My approach — intangible concept exploration
In order to achieve the best results, I’m using experiential learning method, versus traditional learning from books and lectures. This model of Kolb’s is based on Experience, Reflection, Conceptualization, and Experimentation.
The solution I propose is bridging the empathetic divide between here and there, and between now and the future affected by global warming. Imagine exploring different dimensions in virtual reality. Examples include different places in space, viewing things at a micro or macro scale, and changing the angles of your viewpoint. The Dimension Storytelling Machine makes it all possible with an embodied experience.
5. Conceptualization. Experience. Reflection.
I decided to make parts of the experience in the real environment by introducing global warming facts, call to action, and the survey to let visitors express their thoughts, and in the VR environment I let them explore many environments and reflect.
6. How it works
How does it work? The visitor manipulates the dimension machine by hand, and receives visual and audio feedback. To achieve it, I used Arduino, VR Headset, Unity Software, and I created a unique dimension machine.
7. Dimension storytelling machine
The Dimension Storytelling Machine became my technical project contribution. Visitors can manipulate the trigger in two dimensions: X and Y. While moving the handle from the bottom to the top, one travels in space, visiting different parts of the world. Moving the trigger from left to right allows for travel in time, so one can see the affected present and future
So what Imagine the Future does, it adds accessibility to travel: not only global, but also time travel. One can experience global warming effects here and now. It supports immersive embodiment, allowing visitor to experience it with all senses: touch, vision, and sound. It also allows for simple and tangible exploration of intangible concepts through storytelling and dimension machine.
9. Future technology implications
What could be the future implications of the Dimension Machine? Imagine Exploring different dimensions in Virtual Reality, for example different places in the space, or height and depth of the object, or angles from which you are looking at something. Dimension Machine makes it all possible with embodied experience.
What if we distribute these interfaces to hundreds museums everywhere and have people interact with each other by generating stories and sharing them? It allows the possibility to network speculative storytelling content creation.