A Thought Experiment Part 2: Industry

Target Audience

For this thought experiment, I chose the Architecture Industry. The idea came from a conversation I had with a friend who is a professional independent Architect and Interior Designer. Here is his persona profile:

Name: Assaf Oshinski

Age: 39

Occupation: Architect and Interior Designer

A Quote: “I do 3d architectural visualizations for my projects using Autocad and Sketchup as my main tools. VR seems very interesting for my purposes, and I would love to have a VR tool that will allow me to improve my productivity and, later on in the process, also present these projects to my clients in VR”

Motivation: “What I would love to have is a tool that allows me to design while in VR, instead of editing objects in a 2d view. If I could have a tool that allows me to design the space and place objects, textures and lighting while wearing an HMD that would be awesome!”

Their Experience with VR: Not much at the moment, but since he already very experience in 3d design it seems like a natural step forward.

The idea

Based on Assaf’s needs I though about a tool that will allow Architects like him design projects while wearing a high end VR HMD like HTC Vive.

The tool will be a 3d editor allow him to design the general space by:

  • Selecting from a wide set of predefined building blocks (like walls, floors, sinks, baths, etc… ) or objects (cupboards, sofas, tables, etc…) while being able to change their parameters (width, height, thickness, etc…).
  • Being able to precisely position and re-position these building blocks and objects while in VR mode.
  • Being able to test different combinations of materials by selecting from a wide range of predefined material properties, and allowing to texture each object while in VR mode.
  • Being able to import custom made object libraries to allow for a more varied selection of building blocks and objects.
  • Being able to export the projects in a variety if ways: from a standalone VR experience, to 3d models that can work with other 3d packages.

Questions

How accessible would each VR platform be to your target student in terms of price? Take into account location, age, and income.

Since Assaf is a professional he claims he has no problem with purchasing a high end computer and VR HMD like the Vive. The only barrier here is that that he must be convinced that these tools will be comfortable to use and significantly improve his productivity and marketing goals.

How interactive does your lesson need to be? For example, do I need to pick things up or could I get away with just looking at objects?

This experience should be highly interactive. He should have a fully functional editor that allows him to choose from different types of objects, place them in a rather exact manner, be able to move them around easily and to be able to freely move himself inside the space. These are definitely things that will only be feasible on a high end VR platforms like Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive.

How realistic do your visuals need to be in order to teach? For example, could I use 2D images and videos in a 3D Environment or do you need high poly 3D models.

This tool should allow the Architect to fully sense the space in 3d and also present it later on to a client. In this case we are definitely more interested in aiming for more realistic 3d models with textures, lighting and everything else that could enhance the illusion of being inside these architectural spaces.

Does my student need to feel like a participant in the experience or can they be a passive viewer? Could they be both?

They should be very active experience as the user need to actually create the space, position and re position objects, adjust lighting and textures, and walk freely inside the space.

Given the answers above, what are potential platforms you could use for your experience?

The answer here is definitely high end VR platforms like Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive.

In case of projects where the user has to do some interior design for a space that already exists, such a tool could also work well in high end AR HMD like Microsoft Hololens, even though these allow for much less interactivity with objects in the environment.