Hugh Lyons

Hugh Lyons

Integrated Product Design MSc
2011

Virtual Reality Storytelling

Social interface reducing intergenerational differences

Our ageing population is seeing a parallel increase in social exclusion due in part to negative stereotypes about the elderly. This concept aims to prevent the development of negative stereotypes, attitudes and perceptions in the early stages of childhood using the grandparent-grandchild relationship. Virtual Reality (VR) is used as a platform for improved interaction and reduction of intergenerational differences. The product builds on traditional storytelling using a book as the control leading to an intuitive user interface, while adding an immersive VR experience to increase the quality of the experience and counteract disparities such as mobility, cognitive ability and overall health. The grandparent leads the grandchild through a number of experiences where knowledge transfer, bonding, trust and understanding are the basis of the activities. Using avatars the grandparent and grandchild interact in the virtual space. The first stage allows the grandparent and grandchild to swap avatars, experiencing life in each other's shoes and developing a different outlook, showing each the experience of another generation and reducing the development of negative stereotypes. Lastly, it transforms the interaction by filtering or augmenting attributes that negatively affect the interaction, while allowing for the provision of extra information or cues in the grandparent'­s display further improving the exchange of knowledge, entertainment and bonding.