VR Interface Design and the Future of Hybrid Reality

Sci-fi movie interfaces are often breathtaking ways to tell a story, but the next generation of AR/VR interfaces will be clearer and easier to use — with a lot less visual clutter. Recently, motion designer Mike Alger released an 18-minute video that digs into the cutting edge of VR interface design using the Leap Motion Controller and Oculus Rift.

As humans, we can use our existing instincts and ways of seeing the world to our advantage. In his video, Mike explores several beginning design considerations related to zones for content, types of interaction, and interface design methods. Moving from button interaction design to a proof-of-concept VR operating system, he carefully navigates the divide between reality and digital fiction.

The video itself is just the tip of the iceberg, as Mike has also published an impressive paper that drives into a variety of interfaces, input and content design theories, and practical applications. He draws from a variety of VR research, demos, and whitepapers, including our Planetarium project and Widgets, Designing VR Tools: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, AR Screen, and What Would a Truly 3D Operating System Look Like? Zach Kinstner’s Hovercast VR menu also makes a cameo appearance.

Ultimately, Mike concludes that “as a community, we are discovering the [VR] medium’s unexpected strengths and weaknesses. In coming years the consumer market will run virtual reality through the refining crucible of ethics, etiquette, and social acceptance. Rating systems, legislation, and standards committees will form to ensure the mitigation of social risks. We will soon see the first VR related death, claims of head mounted displays causing cancer, blaming the medium for causing violence, social detachment, psychologically or physically melting the brains of its users.

“Alongside this will be the immersive storytelling, compelling experiences, and discussions of human bodily transcendence by way of technological augmentation. And, of course, there is the prospect of heightened productivity and happiness which I so editorially focused on in context of opportunity for the workplace. It is VR’s medium defining process.”


Originally published at blog.leapmotion.com on October 8, 2015.