It all started when we were asked, "can you create a virtual reality experience without a headset?" Our answer was "yes," but without a headset is it still considered VR?
We believe that any experience, where the participant is interacting in a virtual space using their senses, is a type of VR, and that is exactly what we found out with this hybrid approach. Using Leap Motion as the motion controller and replacing the HMD (head-mounted display) with a TV screen we created a virtual reality experience where participants didn't wear a headset. The experience empowered participants to engaged with the content because they were using their sense of "touch" to virtually navigate through the environment. During the experience, users explored three different topics. In which they could learn more by playing mini-games, watching related videos, and exploring 360 environments.
Participant navigating the
content using his virtual hands
An observation that stood out to us was that this type of user interaction and TV display became a shared experience. Even though the participant was immersed in their session, onlookers could see what they were experiencing and got excited to try it for themselves!
Overall this experience was a success. It was fun, easy to use, and engaging for both the user and the audience. It was enlightening to see how virtual reality technology could be used in such a radically different way showing that headsets and hand controllers are just a small part of VR experiences.