The third major experiment I had this summer was a street car journey. At first it’s just another experiment with Unity, but then it leads me to an idea for the project I want to do this year, as the Research Fellow at ITP.
I decided to establish an incorporation, called WE ARE WHAT WE PRETEND TO BE Inc..
It’s inspired by the quotes of writer Kurt Vonnegut:
“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”
I discovered this when I was doing research for my thesis, and it inspired me a lot to shape the idea, and to make the MASK series.
WE ARE WHAT WE PRETEND TO BE Inc.(WAWPRE) is an entity for my series experiments about the relationship between our free will and unfree (uncontrollable) will. Can I change my unfree will by change my free will? How can I shift self identity by ultering my and also others perspective?
The first product of WE ARE WHAT WE PRETEND TO BE Inc. is MASK, a customized VR headset that helps the user become what they want to be.
The second service of WE ARE WHAT WE PRETEND TO BE Inc. is THE TRAM.
It’s an installation that provided customized virtual reality experience that users (aka passengers) can design their tram journey based on their mood, destination, favorite color, and cloth to wear. Also from the cutout hole on the cardboard box, which is usually covered with curtain, I will take a picture of the passengers, so the passengers will be able to see themselves in the VR.
WE ARE WHAT WE PRETEND TO BE Inc. THE TRAM takes you to wherever you want, fulfill whatever desire you want, therefore you become whomever you want. You set yourself free.
I joined Internet Yami-Ichi in New York this summer, and displayed my little handcraft Home Depot cardboard box as an installation + experience seller. For the software, I used Unity and started developing it on and off since August, since I was notified that I was selected to join the event. As for the box, I made it with recycled materials I found in junk shelf in one night before the event! Holy cow SO NERVOUS.
It’s really a successful experiments, for first ever user test! The users used it for a long time, average at least more than 1 minute! Which is a huge difference for me. I think that’s because the tram keeps moving, the scenery outside the window keeps changing, plus there are ghost passengers getting on the bus when the tram stops at the tram station, the user is expecting things to happen, thus enjoys the VR experience for the longer time.
Screen captures with different customized setup
It’s a subtraction process, because of limited time haha
Thank you all my lovely first ever passengers<3 <3 <3
Let me thank you with this passengers all together gif <3<3<3 Thank you guys!!!
In this summer, I was interning in The Economist Media Lab. It’s a tight team of Ron Diorio, Frank J. Andrejasich, and Ziv Schneider. The goal of this internship is exploring how The Economist can use virtual reality to enhance the editorial piece, reach broader audience, and create unusual experience.
Because of my previous 3D data visualization experiments, The Economist is interested how they can do data viz in VR, since data representation is one of their forte. Luckily, I could choose what I want to create, so I picked Big Mac Index. Why? Because it is BURGER dude. BURGER.
About Big Mac Index:
One of the most famous index of The Economist. The earliest data starts from September 1986, and it has been used as a semi-humorous illustration of purchasing power parity (PPP). It makes exchange-rate theory a bit more digestible.
For this, I use the every half a year data since 2000, and the countries include: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Euro area, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, and United States.
There are total three scenes in this Big Mac Index VR: 1) Intro, 2) Map, 3) Comparison Mode.
With bunch of graphics and little texts, the opening shows how to navigate and interact in the virtual world, and gives an intro about the Index. It’s like the traditional motion graphic voice-over video, yet it’s 3D and interactable.
Map is the major part of Big Mac Index VR. There are two kinds of data: first one is “How many Big Mac you can buy with $10 value equivalent in the currency?”, second one is: “The valuation of the currency compared with US Dollar”. For each one, I use burger tower and color of map to represent it. Throughout different time periods, the height of the burger tower and the color of the map change.
There are also two modes for how to display the data, one is automatic time passing by (default), another one is being designated. By tilting the headset 90 degree clockwise, the menu is toggled up to be chosen from. Once it’s not in auto mode, the time period appears in the sky for be chosen, and the map only shows data for specific year.
Still in progress :) It’s for clear comparison in small group with selected countries.
Originally is a birthday present to Andy S. But it ends up to be an Facebook post exploration journey. Below is the instructions:
- Start the journey
- Log into Facebook with token
- Hear happy birthday wishes from Yelling Kid
- Your latest 20 posts from the news feed show up, include: name, contents, and picture.
- Be checked out by Andy the Candy
- Press Space key to have confusing conversations with Andy the Candy
- Andy the Candy starts walking
- Follow Andy the Candy to a post
- Press Space key to view the content
- Andy the Candy greets you when you are back
- Andy the Candy leads you to another post
Very fun experiments! Possible next steps: More posts you browse, the darker the environment it becomes, and eventually shut down the application :>
Just don’t fall for FB too much yo ^_<
Materials –> 3D-like 2D gif images