TDAI Meeting Room

virtual red room with control tablet

This virtual space is the third in a series of explorations into recreating physical spaces for remote and safe virtual technology system prototyping, using inexpensive and accessible resources. I am now focusing on familiar spaces that my students and I can no longer readily access due to COVID-19.

I am working on a collaborative research project led by Professor Kevin Passino (ECE) that involves IoT devices such as smart lighting and speakers of the sort that could be controlled by mobile devices. I used this small room to discover some of the challenges involved with simulating such connected hardware. The eventual goal is to provide a virtual environment for teachers to experience possible locations for such devices in their (simulated) classroom.

This summer I started using WebXR via A-Frame and Glitch to interactively control the color and location of light and sound sources.

This WebXR Environment was developed using an Oculus Quest and its web browser, and has not been tested in any other VR hardware yet. I’d like to hear whether it works on other devices. (If using Quest controllers, left trigger to teleport.)

Modeling this room (which is in Pomerene Hall within TDAI) provided new geometric challenges for the workflow I’ve been developing for creating VR environments from spherical photos.

panoramic photo of small meeting room with bright red chairs
360° Source Photo (Joe Chambers)

The environment has a very low polygon count and mainly relies on two 4k texture maps. The Quest mobile hardware seems ok with this, until I start adjusting light color sliders - sometimes this is fine, sometimes interaction becomes very slow. Still learning and exploring!

Earlier this year, this was one of the meeting rooms my students physically used while learning about programming microcontrollers for light and sound interactivity (using Circuit Playground Bluefruits) as part of our Affordable Learning Exchange (ALX) project.

The audio looping in the virtual speaker is a public domain speech by John Glenn.