The home of architecture and design in Asia-Pacific

Get the latest design news direct to your inbox!

Comfort in Virtual Reality

In a decade or two, most of our waking hours might be spent inside a pair of VR glasses. In Cubes 86 we ask: Will we be comfortable in VR, or, for that matter, with it?

Comfort in Virtual Reality

Culture Convenience Club’s new TONE smartphone service was exhibited using VR at the House Vision 2 exhibition in Tokyo last year. Photo courtesy House Vision


June 27th, 2017

At the time of writing, Facebook Spaces – Facebook’s VR app – has just been made available in beta stage. Mark Zuckerberg’s live demo presented at the Oculus Connect summit last year was an impressive showcase of the app’s early-phase VR capabilities. In that demo, he and two Facebook employees convened and interacted –played, really – conjuring objects such as a chess set and playing cards, even fashioning their own pencil drawings into weapons for a sword fight.

They also ‘teleported’ to various 360-degree video environments together: from underwater to Mars – all fun and quite out of this world, but not as remarkable, perhaps, as when they went to Zuckerberg’s home. Zuckerberg had promised Priscilla, his wife, to check on Beast, their real-life dog. Beast was found on the sofa and appeared to be fine. Zuckerberg then answered a Messenger video call from Priscilla (who was not in VR), took a wefie with a selfie stick, and posted the photo to his real-life Facebook feed – all from within his VR space.

What Zuckerberg demonstrated is that VR is no longer that imaginative other world to which we escape individually; VR is now proposed as a habitable, connected, and viably useful, if alternative environment. Virtual and real might be thought as parallel worlds between which convergences and ‘passages’ are actually already happening.

The question is, will we be comfortable in VR, or, with it?

People who have experienced VR environments attest to their ‘realness’. They can ‘feel the space’ or ‘feel present’ in that space. Dr Frank Steinicke, a professor at the University of Hamburg’s Human-Computer Interaction team at the Department of Informatics, spent 24 hours in the Oculus VR to study its effects. Apart from dry eyes, he reported that he had experienced “strong moments of presence” such as feeling colder when his virtual sun went down. “We should be concerned about what VR is doing to us and what it could be doing to the brain,” Steinicke said in an interview, “and if we wear for long-term, will we lose the ability to communicate in the real world?”

Read the whole story in Cubes 86, out now!

INDESIGN is on instagram

Follow @indesignlive

The Indesign Collection

A searchable and comprehensive guide for specifying leading products and their suppliers

Indesign Our Partners

Keep up to date with the latest and greatest from our industry BFF's!

Related Stories

While you were sleeping

The internet never sleeps! Here's the stuff you might have missed