UBISS Summerschool 2024 VR Workshop


“Virtually Real? The Art and Science of Designing Impactful (or Even Transformative?) Virtual Experiences”

I had the honour to teach an inten­sive 1-week inten­sive VR jam/workshop at the UBISS 2024 Summerschool at the University of Oulu in Finland, together with co-instructors Dr. Matti Pouke (University of Oulu, Finland) and Dr. Paula Alavesa (University of Oulu, Finland). See the offi­cial UBISS web­site for the detailed offi­cial work­shop description.

UBISS logo

Class announcement

Are you ready to dive into the realm of Virtual Reality (VR) and unlock its full poten­tial? Join us for a jour­ney where you’ll har­ness VR tech­nol­ogy, includ­ing state-of-the-art head-mounted dis­plays and the Unity game engine, to craft VR expe­ri­ences that res­onate and leave a last­ing impact. This work­shop is more than just learn­ing the tools; it’s about con­nect­ing with global peers in a project-based learn­ing envi­ron­ment to ideate, create, and present VR expe­ri­ences that push bound­aries. Prepare to doc­u­ment your process, share your insights, and unveil your cre­ations in a show­case that cel­e­brates inno­va­tion and collaboration.

 UBISS WKS group picture sm

In just 4 1/2 days, 21 stu­dents from diverse back­grounds and coun­tries gath­ered into 5 teams and were coached in design­ing their own VR expe­ri­ence. Specifically, the goal was to bridge the gap between tech­nol­ogy and user expe­ri­ence, focus­ing on how to design VR expe­ri­ences that are not just tech­no­log­i­cally sound but also psy­cho­log­i­cally impact­ful and emo­tion­ally res­o­nant. Below are the impres­sive results of their work, that was exhib­ited in a final project show­case at the end of UBISS 2024.

[more details will follow soon]

Boat Scape

Step into empathy: Experience the refugee journey in immersive VR

Link to Project Website

UBISS 2024 Summer School WKS D_ Virtually Real_ final presentation T1Razor: Our VR experience will transport users from their daily routines into the challenging lives of refugees fleeing war, desperately seeking a safe escape.

Embark on a jour­ney in the pur­suit of a safer place with “Boat Scape.” Begin your day on a uni­ver­sity campus, only to be thrust into a series of events that force you to seek refuge in another coun­try. This expe­ri­ence aims to evoke empa­thy and under­stand­ing for war refugees who find them­selves in life-or-death sit­u­a­tions, high­light­ing their des­per­ate quest for safety.

I am a Tree

Experience the life of a tree: From serenity to destruction, to self-reflection.

Link to Project Website

UBISS_2024_Summer_School_WKS_D__Virtually_Real__final_presentation_1Razor: An immersive VR experience that evokes a deep connection to nature by embodying the life journey of a tree, highlighting the impacts of human activity, showing the passive perspective of nature, and prompting reflective thought.

A trans­for­ma­tive VR expe­ri­ence that con­nects users to nature through the jour­ney of a tree. “I Am A Tree” aims to enhance the feel­ing of con­nec­tion and com­pas­sion for nature, lead­ing to an increased will­ing­ness for pro-environmental behav­ior in the real world. Users will expe­ri­ence a peace­ful exis­tence, the dis­tress of envi­ron­men­tal destruc­tion, and a meta­phys­i­cal reflec­tion on the expe­ri­ence, aiming to pro­mote a desire to pro­tect and cher­ish nature.


A story of ultimate freedom and contrast in life 

Link to Project Website

UBISS 2024 Summer School WKS D_ Virtually Real_ final presentation T3Razor: “Icarus” is a one-of-a-kind experience, an emotional whiplash to wake up a sense of wonder and appreciation for life in those witnessing its tragic beauty.

In “Icarus” you don’t simply wit­ness wildlife, you live in it. Explore the world around you, follow your instincts and let your­self be trans­ported in an expe­ri­ence that dares to defy the laws of physics. In a dra­matic turn of events, through loss and re-birth you will find appre­ci­a­tion for life in itself.



Who are you?

A journey in the tricks of memory

Link to Project Website

UBISS 2024 Summer School WKS D_ Virtually Real_ final presentation T4Razor: Elicit empathy toward people experiencing memory loss, in order to increase gentle, compassionate behavior toward them from caregivers and loved ones.

What if you cannot rec­og­nize your loved ones? What if you, all of sudden, can’t remem­ber why you’re walk­ing in your cor­ri­dor? Or you can’t rec­og­nize the people lying on your sofa, watch­ing the TV? Are you sure you’ve taken your med­i­cine? Do you really need the med­i­cine? Have you eaten today? Who’s this guy yelling at you to come back home and get dressed while you’re on your daily walk to the park? Immerse in the life of a person with memory disorders.

This project aims to improve people’s under­stand­ing of how a memory-loss person might per­ceive a daily event as con­trasted to how their care­giver per­ceives the same event. To achieve this aim, this project cre­ates an immer­sive expe­ri­ence in vir­tual real­ity where users are pre­sented with both sides of a story through a first-person view.


Normal day with Migraine

Virtual Reality, Real Empathy: Explore the World of Migraines

Link to Project Website

UBISS 2024 Summer School WKS D_ Virtually Real_ final presentation T5Razor: Empowering empathy and understanding through immersive VR, this experience bridges the gap between experience and awareness for those aged 15 and above, ensuring a safer and more effective way to comprehend and provide a profound understanding of the challenges faced by sufferers, and fostering empathy and awareness.

Embark on a com­pelling jour­ney through the every­day expe­ri­ences of migraine suf­fer­ers with our VR expe­ri­ence. As a user, you’ll encounter first­hand the com­plex­i­ties and dis­tress­ing symp­toms such as blurry vision and numb­ness in hands. Our aim is to inspire empa­thy, enhance aware­ness, and deepen under­stand­ing of migraine’s pro­found impact.