Ivan Aguilar



PhD student


iaguilar [at] sfu.ca



Ivan joined the iSpace team in Fall 2017 as a PhD student.

He has a Bachelor in Computer Science and Master’s in Media and Technology, both from the Sao Paulo State University (UNESP) in Brazil, where he researched in the areas of Augmented Reality, Pre-visualization for the Film Pipeline, Photogrammetry, and Computer Graphics. His cur­rent research focuses on using inter­dis­ci­pli­nary approaches to inves­ti­gate, develop, and test human-computer inter­faces for vir­tual and aug­mented reality.


Connected through "AWE": creating immersive experiences for social connection

Do you get enough “awe” in your life? In our busy day-to-day lives, we often take our experiences for granted. While we have the technology to connect with one another, like smart phones, we don’t necessarily get outside with nature, or stargaze. Such activities may consist of common awe-inspiring moments, and we now understand that feeling awe is associated with all sorts of social and well...

Virtual Earthgazing - towards an overview effect in Virtual Reality

How can we use immersive VR to give people pivotal positive experiences without having to send them out into space?   “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 in worldview, le...


Quesnel, D., Stepanova, E. R., Aguilar, I., Pennefather, P., & Riecke, B. E. (2018). Creating “AWE”: Combining artistic intuition and research-based design for an emotionally-profound art installation. Presented at the 2018 IEEE Games, Entertainment, Media Conference (GEM) (full paper), Galway, Ireland: IEEE.
Kitson, A., Stepanova, E. R., Aguilar, I., Wainwright, N., & Riecke, B. E. (2019, June). Transcending the Lab: Using Storytelling and Theatre Practices to Support Self-Transcendent Experiences in Virtual Reality. Talk presented at the 24th Annual CyberPsychology, CyberTherapy & Social Networking Conference (CyPsy24), Norfolk, VA, USA. Retrieved from https://easychair.org/my/conference.cgi?conf=cypsy24
Wrainwright, N., Stepanova, E. R., Aguilar, I., Kitson, A., & Riecke, B. E. (2019, June). Transcending the Lab: Supporting Self-Transcendent Experiences in VR. Talk presented at the FCAT Undergraduate Conference, Surrey City Hall, BC, Canada. Retrieved from https://www.sfu.ca/fcat/events/ugc.html
Stepanova, E., Quesnel, D., Kitson, A., Prpa, M., Aguilar, I., & Riecke, B. E. (2018, June). A framework for studying Transformative Experiences through VR. Symposium presentation presented at the 23rd Annual CyberPsychology, CyberTherapy & Social Networking Conference, Gatineau, Canada. Retrieved from http://interactivemediainstitute.com/cypsy23/