How would you want to interact with someone in social virtual reality like shown here? This is the kind of question I want to contribute to with my current and future design research work.

Emerging technologies are at a fast pace being introduced in society. While some embrace them into their daily life, others stay away as far as they can. I believe it to be my duty as a designer to take both these groups into account when developing new technology. Especially by doing design research on how technology is experienced and what the hesitations of people are. Doing this requires finding the edges of what people find comfortable in interacting with the technology. Combined with a mindful ethical compass, clear boundaries can be set on what is, and what is not, desirable when bringing new technology into society.

To conduct meaningful research, design researchers must stay informed on the technological advancements made by companies and fellow researchers. Besides, it is important to be involved in the actual development of functionalities to be aware of what is possible.

Specifically, my attention is now focused on the Metaverse as this will inevitably become, and already is, a prominent form of social interaction online. This virtual reality space is now mostly being developed by large companies that have shown in the past to lack ethical compasses. Therefore, I want to contribute to the body of knowledge on how people experience social virtual reality. I see my role as a design researcher in this context as providing the world with insights on how we experience social contact in the Metaverse and what would be desirable in shaping this interaction.

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