Laura Chen decided to do her thesis for NYU on masks, but these are no ordinary masks, they include virtual reality, sensors and other fun components in order to solve an issue that people face. I found myself especially drawn to Hive, which examines isolation frustration. Here is Laura’s concept for the piece.
It’s a community nest that connects people to overcome the distance. During the day, people work as worker bees. During the night, people come back to the bee hive and share what they’ve been through during the day. By moving heads, users can look around and talk with each other inside the virtual beehive.
You can discover multiple friends inside the mask, making it an interesting alternative to a Google hangout. The cool thing is that it’s using cardboard VR–definitely take a look at Laura’s resources if you have an interest in this.
The masks were constructed from cardboard with lasercut paper and LEDs. Laura uses wax paper inside the honeycomb areas as a nice way to give a honey-like sheen and also to diffuse the LEDs. It gives it a welcoming look and is a reminder of the importance of communication for bees. Check out the video to see the significance of the LEDs.
This is a great example of using VR for real life issues, rather than just straight gaming. I could see this being used as a psychological exposure method for social phobia, and also as a fun way for children in a hospital to communicate–especially if they can’t walk. I’m really interested to see where Laura’s work will take her next, but I’m definitely enjoying her VR realm for now. If you enjoy the same, head on over to our 3D Printed Wearable Video Goggles guide. You can create your own DIY Oculus Rift!
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