Earthgazement - towards an overview effect in Virtual Reality: first project video

We went to the Moon as tech­ni­cians, we returned as human­i­tar­i­ans” reflected Edgar Mitchell after his space flight. This describes the overview effect – a pro­found awe-inspiring expe­ri­ence of seeing Earth from space result­ing in a cog­ni­tive shift, lead­ing to a more con­scious and caring view on our planet. Experiencing Earth from space first-hand made many astro­nauts real­ize that Earth is frag­ile, with­out bor­ders, lead­ing to a feel­ing of con­nect­ed­ness to human­ity and our planet(see astro­nauts’ quotes). Such an aware­ness shift could have a pos­i­tive impact on our soci­ety and planet, espe­cially if we had a tool that allowed for more people to expe­ri­ence it with­out the risk, cost, and envi­ron­men­tal foot­print asso­ci­ated with actual space flight.
To this end, the iSpace Lab inves­ti­gates how we could best use the poten­tial of immer­sive vir­tual real­ity to give people a glimpse of the overview effect with­out having to send more rock­ets to space. At the same time, we use vir­tual real­ity as a tool allow­ing us to better under­stand the expe­ri­ence and under­ly­ing trig­gers of the overview effect phenomenon.

To this end, we will design a set of intro­spec­tive, phys­i­o­log­i­cal and

(1) design a set of intro­spec­tive, phys­i­o­log­i­cal and behav­ioural eval­u­a­tion research tools to better under­stand the overview effect phe­nom­e­non and how immer­sive VR could serve to induce it;

(2) Pilot these research tools as an essen­tial part of our larger research pro­gram through the cre­ation of a VR envi­ron­ment, gain­ing a deeper under­stand­ing of aspects of the per­sonal expe­ri­ences of the OE deliv­ered through VR, and as a result deriv­ing strate­gies for the design of piv­otal VR expe­ri­ences with the long-term goal of induc­ing pos­i­tive social change in the population.

Below is our first video explain­ing the over­all idea of the Earthgazement project. Thanks: IAT344 stu­dent team Joanna Chou, Katarina Shao, Lien Chou, & Sidi Zhong!

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