Block Party

Stack cubes & work together. Connect the digital & physical worlds.

2024

#XR

#MIT Reality Hack 2024

#Silver Medalist

#MR/VR

Team

Quinn Henthorne, Y. Jenny Wang, Stanton Nash, Emerson Segura

Role

Visual Designer & UX Reseacher

Tools

Figma, Unity, Blender, Spline, Miro

Project Description

Block Party is our submission developed over the course of 3 days during MIT Reality Hack 2024. Though in a short amount of time, I was able to support the team's engineers with supporting visual design work and UX research.

Awards

Winner

Best of Hardware Track

Winner

Silver Prize

Honorable Mention

Augmented Productivity Track

The Problem

VR often makes people feel disconnected from others and their surroundings. How can we reconnect the digital and physical worlds?

Open Question

How can we facilitate a shared & equally enriching experience for a person in VR and a person outside VR?

Brainstorming & Design Process

Idea Brainstorming

I led the group's rapid brainstorming session with Miro. During, I had all team members rapidly write as many ideas as possible on post-it notes for 5 minutes. Then, all the ideas were shared before another round of brainstorming.

In the final activity, each teammate created one project pitch by combining & remixing the initial ideas. Each idea was then presented to the group with pros and cons. We all discussed and voted on the pitches to determine our main concept.

Ideating together allowed everyone to align to a common goal as well as gain vested interest in the one concept. Since everyone felt included in the idea's conception, the entire team was invested from the start.

Paper Prototype

A paper prototype was created and play-tested before 3D printing the blocks. This allowed us to check dimensions, shape, size, and overall aesthetics before committing to a final design.

3D Model Assets in Spline (Made in Blender)

Final Solutions & Designs

Stack blocks on physical grid & the same appears in VR

Interact with blocks in VR to affect the ones IRL

Depending on the orientation of the blocks, fun surprises will occur

Key Takeaways & Future Considerations

My experience has enlightened me in more ways than one. In such a short amount of time, my team was able to do so much. Some key lessons I learned include:

  • The importance of collaborative brainstorming - Not only is it important to come up with an outstanding idea, but it is even more important to come up with it together. If everyone feels like they had a hand at coming up with the final idea, everyone will feel committed & invested.
  • Diverse skill sets make winning teams - With backgrounds in art, theater, engineering, robotics, & more, we were able to utilize everyone's talents and strengths not only in building the project, but in the project pitches, videography, documentation, and overall realization of Block Party.
  • It does not end here - This project is a starting point. There are so many future, practical applications, like mixed reality LEGO-building, VR architecture diagrams, D&D assets, and more. In the near future, we hope to further iterate & provide the world with something special.

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Let's chat!(´∀`)

Or feel free to email me via the email listed on my resume!

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