Get Real: Immersive Reality Course

During the spring semester of 2018 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Elzey Mercer co-taught a sixteen-week design studio where they constructed an immersive reality design challenge in two parts: (1) the production of a reality headset and controller and (2) the design and creation of a mobile app to launch a designed and tested reality experience. Thirteen industrial design students and twenty-four graphic design students were divided into 12 groups. Each group included an industrial design student and two graphic design students.

The researchers and students engaged with Dr. Rebecca Ginsburg, the director of the Educational Justice Project (EJP) in order to design headsets and immersive reality experiences that would allow people who are currently incarcerated to learn everyday activities when working toward re-entry.

Some of the experiences include:

  1. Ordering a McRib (or any confusing item) at McDonald’s
  2. Using auto-pay at Walmart
  3. Using automated order boards at fast-food restaurants
  4. Paying for gas at the pump
  5. The meaning of emojis when texting
  6. Ordering a coffee at Starbucks

In order to successfully design an app and immersive reality experience that would truly benefit this user group, the challenge began with a discovery phase to create new ideas to test before stepping into the ORG, Octagonal Research Globe. The discovery phase included empathy mapping with existing personas, benchmarking and analyzing mobile apps that launch reality experiences and immersive reality experiences, journey map, and wireframing.

The work presented on this page was a result of students hard work during the Spring 2018 Semester.