Can VR Bring Us Together?

Innovation Studios
Feb 28, 2019 · 2 min read

Mozilla teamed up with the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design to find out

Come over. And don’t forget your headset. That may sound a little wonky today, but it won’t in the near future, when strapping on VR specs to socialize may be as common as meeting up at Starbucks.

The appeal of VR and MR (Mixed Reality) — once all about the shock value of exploring the uncanny valley of an alternate reality, is that you can now explore those realities alongside another person. The technology is simultaneously social and antisocial. Alone, together, to paraphrase Sherry Turkle.

At the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID), any new genre of interaction opens up all kinds of design opportunities.

Likewise, Mozilla’s Mixed Reality team is always on the lookout for insight into what tools the developer creative community might want for building social experiences in VR.

So, in late 2018, Mozilla and CIID teamed up to explore the future together. As part of a larger partnership, we set off on a fast paced, 2-week design sprint.

Twelve CIID students worked with Mozilla’s Mixed Reality team to see what kind of creative, community-driven applications of web technology we could prototype with a bunch of interaction designers and headsets in the room. We explored questions like:

How might we design the conditions for community-created content?

How might we incentivise growth of a user community on platforms?

What is the future of social in MR/VR?

CIID’s approach starts with people. In a virtual world, that means looking at how fast-evolving technology might support or empower our everyday needs and ambitions, which tend to change more slowly.

We wondered what the VR creators of tomorrow might want to build to bolster our social interactions, and what impact this might have on the ecosystem of online services for socializing — like Twitch, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Creating and testing future scenarios is a low-cost way to develop a shared vision for products and services before building them. We made quick prototypes to simulate experiences that could be supported in the next 12 months on Mozilla’s social VR platform, HUBs.

To see what we came up with, watch the video, check out the highlights, and read more about the results on the Mozilla MR blog. For a deeper dive on the whole process, check out CIID’s blog.

Josh Walton and Gitte Jonsdatter

ABOUT CIID

CIID is a global design institute that works with today’s most ambitious companies to make a difference. Alongside interaction design education programmes around the world partner with organisations like LEGO, Volvo, Cookpad, and the UN to build a stronger society and a more resilient planet. To learn more about CIID, reach us at hello@ciid.dk

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