Building a VR Empathy Machine – Border Sessions

Building a VR Empathy Machine

Virtual Reality has an immersive power. It can teleport you into a place you have never been before, with people you have never seen before and still you will feel as you are really part of this virtual experience. VR is a new medium, with new rules, to create a world where anything is possible.

As organizers of this lab, we try to enhance the empathy of visitors within our VR experiences in order to change perspective. This is not as simple as it seems. In this lab we are testing a 3 step method we have developed, to help awaken the empathy of youngsters who committed a crime. In multidisciplinary teams, which will include youngsters, we try out this 3 step method to create immersive virtual worlds.

1. What information do you need to prepare the visitor of VR to change perspectives?
2. How can we incorporate this information in a virtual world?
3. How you construct a dialogue where the visitor is reflecting on the perspective change

Yes, we will be building prototypes in one day! We experiment with 360 film, animation and tilt briush. So we are calling out to all storytellers, VR experts, social workers, visual and interaction designers, researchers, muncipalities or government. Anybody who would like to explore how VR can contribute in awaking empathy for a good cause.

In the first half of the day we will work on understanding the topic from a youngsters perspective, create a storyline and explore sensory aspects to incorporate in the virtual environment. The other half we will spend on building (and testing) a rapid prototype.

Different expertises join forces; How can we make the experience of the youngster transferable to VR visitors so we can learn from it to make stronger policy and preventation?

9.30 – 10.00 Entrance open, possibility to experience VR installations
Meet the SoldierFar InsideStreet Temptations
10.00 – 10.45 Introduction day and challenge
10:45 – 11:00 Set up teams and goals
11.00 – 11.30 Interview with younsters from Young in Prison
11.30 – 13.00 Brainstorm and concept; experience to empathy
13.00 – 14.00 Lunchbreak
VR-installaties and demonstration Street Temptations
14.00 – 16.30 Go create
Rapid prototype; quick sketch to research concepts
16.30 – 17.00 Presentation concepts and evaluation
Insights and potention for further development.
17.00 Drinks at Nutshuis with the participants of all the labs

Although the main language of this lab is Dutch, we will make sure this will not be a problem for English speakers.


Vado Soto
van Deursen
van den broeke