Immersive Reading Physical Prototyping

For this project, we were challenged to creating a prototype for an experiences that leverages augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) in some way. Our team chose to explore how we could enhance the reading experience. We envisioned a system which uses sensors embedded in a physical book to control the home's light, sound, and heating/cooling systems in order to place the reader in a environment that changes with the ebbs and flows of the narrative.

Team: Lisa Otto and Kaylee White
Contributions: Concept generation, prototype building, video editing
Advisor: Austin Lee

Moods We speculated that within this system, physical books have “auras” that qualitatively reflect the overarching theme of the narrative. 

An immersive experience As the reader progresses through the text, the lights and sounds around her shift gradually to create an ambience that matches the mood of the narrative.  The temperature control systems of the space also react to create, for example, a chill as it predicts a particularly dramatic passage coming up, or a comfortable warmth for more tender moments.

Control  As a control for the intensity of the experience, we proposed the use of a blanket. As the reader gets more “wrapped up” in the book—stretching the blanket tighter around her—the atmospheric shifts become more pronounced.

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Adapting the system In the reader's own space, the system creates the unique possibility of sharing a typically solitary experience with loved ones. However, we envisioned that the system could be adapted for use in a more public setting, where the experience is delivered through a wearable device.

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Creating a demo We decided to prototype the experience by “wizard-of-oz”ing the lighting shifts using an overhead projector while the “reader” demonstrates the controls.