In The Pit of Occlusion, I am playing with our ability to be in both places at once. When you put the headgear on, you enter a virtual space and yet are still located in the real space occupied by your body. You can move your virtual body through the VR environment by using the game controller. But in order to navigate in RL, you must be able to see (which is currently kind of hard with a mask strapped to your face).
Generally, I begin by asking the user to stand at a starting location (sometimes an actual X on the floor). Then I ask them to put on the VR headset, and to turn around completely so they can see the environment — also this serves to disorient them somewhat. I hand them the game controller and explain how it works. And finally I point out to them the windows in the virtual world that look out into reality and tell them to use those windows so they can see where they are going. Then I tell them to walk through the space to a particular destination (perhaps another X on the floor).
While this experience is disorienting, none have had negative feedback. On the contrary, people are joyful at their own difficulty navigating between the virtual and real world.
This work is part of a series about our interaction with and exploration into virtual reality. I am interested in how we are driven to virtualize and how easily we can accept and become immersed in a virtual experience and how that experience can change our thinking and our behavior.
This series was born of the intersection of several areas of research — inexpensive portable VR headsets (e.g. Google Cardboard), free game engines (e.g. Unity), and other techniques such as augmented reality (AR) and photogrammetry (e.g. 123D Catch).