VRID is an explorative research project under Professor Ranjitha Kumar of University of Illinois. In this research, we measured the usability of virtual reality systems for creative tasks such as Interior Design in contrast to traiditional desktop systems. Results shows that users are more immeresed, more engaged, more creative, spent more time, willing to spend more money, and overall more conscientious of the design of the living spaces.
In January 2017 I led the research team to design and develop a virtual reality system that runs using Oculus Rift headset. The application lets user to explore an apartment in 3D, and decorate them using a set of furnitures. The system then also ported as a normal desktop application that can be used using mouse and keyboard.
We then ran a user research who lives on an apartment complex in Seattle that has the same model as in our system. We gave them 3 design tasks to complete. Then we measured VR system’s usability compared to the desktop version, both running the same application we made. We learned that users using VR system spent more time, got more creative, spent more money decorating, and overall more conscientious of their apartment.
This was the first time I led an HCI research project, and also the precursor behind my first venture Virtision. After this research, my Co-founder, Brandon, and I were curious how would VR technology could be used to help people tour apartments from afar, which is a memorable story by itself.