Stage 5: Prototyping Student Experience

Exploring functionality and interactions through “paper” and Hololens animation

We were quite at a crossroads when it came to prototyping for Augmented Reality. How do you create a environment closest to your product for the augmented world? We started this conversation by looking at various options available — Holosketch, Unity, 3D viewer in Hololens. We also thought of creating a virtual world that would simulate the experience a technical student would experience in the workshop.

We began by trying — and I say trying — to create a UI interface in Holosketch. There is a great tutorial by Microsoft which takes you through the process of building in 3D in augmented space.

Image by Microsoft

I love 3D modeling software — its one of my favorite ways to bring concepts to life. But the Holosketch is not a easy feat. Microsoft has created it to be intuitive, with all features available at the tap of your fingers, but trying to build in Augmented space — where your axis plane is hovering in the air and you are trying desperately to align objects through voice is extremely difficult. We spent a few good hours trying to build a simple iteration of a UI in Holosketch — before our hands started paining from all the gestures and our eyes were fogged with the weight of the Hololens. We decided to look at other approaches to prototyping.

Working on Cinema 4D, we decided to create a quick animation of the first and second level menu interaction that a student would go through in Augmented space. This was easy enough to create but the we faced certain problems when we exported our 3D animation to 3D viewer on the Hololens.

Any animation which was appearing and disappearing from our frame would not show — our menu items that were animated to scale up and move from 10% transparency to 100% transparency would not show. Not only that, but all material animations such as color change, opacity settings, reflection etc, would not appear once exported to 3D viewer.

We worked around this by hiding our second level menu options outside of the view frame in the Hololens. By doing this it just seemed that the menu transitions were appearing from 0% opacity. You can see a demo of it below.

We managed to also create a piston simulation for students at Rosedale tech to interact with in Augment Space. We wanted to learn from them the experience of using touch, gaze and voice to manipulate objects in AR and see how they respond to having a contextual menu while working in their mechanic workshops.