Final Master Project

Designing and Evaluating Haptic Avatar Biosignals for Social Virtual Reality

This project marks the end of my Industrial Design journey as a student. During this time I have worked on discovering my speciality. I have found this spark of interest in the development of the Metaverse from a design research perspective.

Reflecting on expertise area integration

User & Society (chosen area)

My interest lies in creating desirable futures with emerging technologies and collecting insights on the impact of their implementation. As I want to work with technologies significantly impacting daily life, this area steers my Technology & Realization development. I found my interest in the Metaverse which potentially alters online interaction radically. With this project, I set substantial steps in familiarizing with this context and collecting insights on the specific feature of haptic biosignals. The ethical concerns mentioned by participants, e.g. being lured in by warmth, guide me in finding the hesitations of people adopting the Metaverse. In the continuation of my design research work, as mentioned in my PDP goal, I want to keep researching the interactions in VR from a design perspective.

Technology & Realization (chosen area)

To conduct my envisioned design research work, I must continuously develop prototyping and seek communication with engineers to work with advanced technologies. This semester has consisted of becoming acquainted with VR development, and I am impressed with the advancements made. Even people in the CWI lab asked my opinion on Unity-related issues, a huge compliment! I am also aware of the aspects to improve in the prototype, such as the heart rate vibration to become more recognizable. Regarding my PDP goal of gaining Unity programming skills and designing a VR environment, I can tick both boxes. Even more so, this project has sparked my creator’s enthusiasm. Hence, I want to continue in VR development and keep broadening my skills as technical possibilities arise.

Math, Data & Computing

To conduct my envisioned research, I must structure the prototype interaction, collect relevant data, and analyze it. In this project, I am proud of the procedure of the study being automated through scripts. This enables me to perform a study with minimal bias (e.g. order bias and gender bias) and optimal data collection. A skill I still need to improve is quantitative data analysis. Although I applied basic statistics I feel unsure about how to interpret their outcomes. For my future design research career I need to keep practising this to produce publishable research output.

Creativity & Aesthetics

With my research focus, emphasis is on designing a meaningful study and communicating the output. The strength of a designer in a computer science dominated domain is using intuition to judge quality of form and interaction. Additionally, communicating work well visually strengthens my position at events (e.g. CWI wanting me to poster-present at the ELSA lab opening). In continuing my career I want to develop in designing objects for virtual environments. This would enable me to more custom-design VR environments.

Business & Entrepreneurship

Being connected to a research network is for a researcher important. Work gets its value through sharing it with this community. Through my collaboration with CWI, I had the opportunity to build connections with people within the social VR domain both in academics and in companies. This experience and gained connections will be helpful in managing my future career.

Reflecting on Design & Research Processes

My Design & Research Processes

Since my bachelor’s, I have worked with the Double Diamond model and I still prefer that as my base. With the design research focus, I shifted my sources of inspiration. Primarily, I get inspired by previous research to spot gaps in the domain. Specifically, I believe it to be designers’ strength to keep on iterating. For instance, M2.1 did not yield as significant insights as hoped so I shifted for M2.2 from news interaction to avatar interaction whereas a non-designer might have stuck to news.

Furthermore, an important part of the research process is sharing work. Through CWI I could present M2.1 as poster at the ELSA lab opening and as demo at the Post-CHI NL event. Also, it is pending as CHI LBW and NWO ICT.OPEN submission. Regarding M2.2, the participant group will be enlarged and thereafter conference submissions will be written in collaboration with my CWI mentor Abdo.

Professional Skills

Communicating and reporting starts with mastering the language. Bilingual education in high school benefited me here in starting my bachelor’s with confidence in presenting myself and my work. From there I grew in developing the content to share rather than how to communicate it. Reflecting upon my curriculum, I picked up interests and was able to puzzle them together in the final stages of my master’s. In organising my master I did more courses to keep on searching for my spark of interest. Within projects, I sought collaboration with multi-disciplinary students or partners (CWI). In total, I believe I worked thoroughly on preparing for a career after my master’s.

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