IEEEVR2020: “Avatar Driven VR Society Trends in Japan”

Liudmila Bredikhina
GREE VR Studio Laboratory, Research Intern / University of Geneva

IEEE VR and VR in VR workshop

Since 1993, the IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces (IEEE VR) has been focusing on presenting results in the broad area of VR. The IEEE VR conference was supposed to be held in Atlanta, from March 22nd to 26th 2020. Due to COVID-19, the event switched to an all-online format, using Twitch for conference steaming. The main conference activities were organized in Mozilla Hubs (a series of virtual rooms were created and participants could attend keynotes, panels, and workshops in small groups). Other platforms included: Slack was used to exchange information and issues between participants, panelists, and organizers; Sli.do was sometimes used by the audience to ask panelists questions; Zoom was used in some cases for further discussions between the panelists and the organizers.

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“Avatar driven VR society trends in Japan”

Intrigued by the workshop call, a group of researchers came together to write a paper titled “Avatar driven VR society trends in Japan”. The four researchers were: Liudmila Bredikhina, Takayuki Kameoka, Shogo Shimbo, and Akihiko Shirai. Liudmila Bredikhina is an anthropologist at the Geneva University and researchers on virtual characters. Takayuki Kameoka is a graduate at the University of Electro-Communication Tokyo and has previously helped organize several VRSionUp meetings as well as Virtual Gakkai. Shogo Shimbo is a Waseda graduate. Akihiko Shirai is the director of GREE VR Studio Lab.

VR in VR workshop

The workshop, took place on March 22th, between 9:00 AM and 12:30 PM. It was organized by Blair MacIntyre, Anthony Steed, and Rob Lindeman. Panelists could choose between several presentation formats: they could send a video presentation, give a real-time talk in Mozilla Hubs, present via Zoom, or create their own room in Mozilla Hubs and give their talk there. We decided to opt for the video format and create a Mozilla Hubs room from which the video was supposed to be steamed. We created a Mozilla Hubs room because we wanted to present our research in 3 dimensions and because we wanted to archive our talk. Our Mozilla Hubs consisted of our presentation, paper, and other videos that were mentioned in our research. All of the above-mentioned elements were available for public consultation from the Mozilla Hubs room. Making it accessible for anyone with an internet connection and a desire to learn more about avatar driven society in Japan. Moreover, as Mozilla Hubs supports approximately 25 users per room, attendees could interact with one another, creating an interactive experience for everyone.

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Presentation in Hubs
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VRM based avatars by authors, here are accepted papers on their back.
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Conclusion

In the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IEEEVRinVR conference was a success and provided alternative solutions to academic participation. With Mozilla Hubs, it was possible to create a room and design an experience around our presentation. There were some critiques in regard to Zoom participation: presenters had to appear on camera in their physical form which could lead to privacy issues. Moreover, the Webinar like participation on ZOOM lacked engagement and interactions with viewers and between presenters. On the positive note, the online meetings reduced carbon footprint and food/beverage expenses, participants could participate from any physical location given that they had access to the Internet.

Reference

L. Bredikhina, T. Kameoka, S. Shimbo and A. Shirai, “Avatar Driven VR Society Trends in Japan,” 2020 IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces Abstracts and Workshops (VRW), Atlanta, GA, USA, 2020, pp. 497–503, doi: 10.1109/VRW50115.2020.00103. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9090603

Written by

R&D division for Creating a new future with XR entertainment research and VTuber industry with REALITY, Inc. in GREE Family.

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