VR Memory Repository

Company: HP Labs (2018)
Team: Jiwon Jun, Mary Baker, Eric Faggin, Kevin Smathers
My Role: concept development, VR experience design, 3D modeling, prototyping with Unity
Panel & Presentation: Art of Immersion at IEEE Games, Entertainment, and Media 2018
Interview: HP Labs Blog | HP Labs explores a new approach to immersive content creation and consumption

VR Memory Repository investigates an idea of building a spatial VR experience that a user can exhibit photos and 360° videos. Bringing personal content into a virtual space, it aims to create an immersive experience allowing a user to revisit memorable moments. 

This project started from our interests in the VR experience produced based upon reality and a user’s own memory and life. Through brainstorming, we came up with the idea of the VR space that a user could import their photos and videos in and also export it by printing and sharing with others. 

“Inside Out.” Walt Disney Pictures, 2016.

The concept was also partially inspired by Disney’s film “Inside Out.” In the movie, Riley’s memories are saved in orbs-like objects and played like videos. We were interested in creating a virtual space that a user can see tangible references of memories and walk around them. Therefore, we created spherical spaces made of 360° videos, which allow a user to walk into them for watching replays. 

Experience Prototype

The prototype demonstrates what the experience could look and feel like. In this VR experience, a user can navigate the room freely watching photos and videos. A photo the user is looking at is automatically selected by a sensor on HMD, and it can be printed by pressing a button on a controller. The spheres made of 360° videos intend to provide the user with a feeling to be immersed in the past moments, The project was presented at IEEE Games, Entertainment, and Media 2018, and featured on my interview with the public HP Labs blog published online. 

I was in charge of designing space, 3D assets, and prototype experience. After going through a few iterations, the virtual space was designed with two rooms. Each room presents photos and 360° videos, and a user can freely navigate between the rooms.

VR space design with two rooms 

Photo frames & video orbs

Printing Photos in VR
Based on a head tracking sensor input from HMD, a photo that a user is seeing is automatically selected for printing. A user can simply press a button on a controller to print the photo via a connected printer.  The initial idea was adding a print button onto the virtual picture frame. However, as it is not intuitive and efficient to point the small button with a controller, it was replaced with an automatic photo selection triggered by the HMD sensor. 

An automatically selected photo based on a user’s head position is highlighted.

The intinal idea using the print button on the picture frame

Walking Into 360° Videos
Round rugs are used as visual cuses to guide a user to walk into the 360° Video spheres. They were placed under the spheres, and a user can step onto the center of them to wach the videos being inside of it. This interface intends to allow the user to feel like revisiting the past moments played in the videos. 3D spatial audio effects are applied to the spheres, and a user can hear louder sounds from the sphers when getting closer to them.

Panel & Presentation
I had the honor to present the project as part of the “The Art of Immersion” panel at IEEE Games, Entertainment, and Media 2018 at NUI Galway, Ireland.

Photo Credit: TechInnovate Twitter