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Abstract Machines Overlaying Virtual Worlds on Physical Rides

Tennent, Paul; Marshall, Joe; Brundell, Patrick; Walker, Brendan; Benford, Steve


Brendan Walker

Dunford Chair in Computer Science


Brendan Walker


Overlaying virtual worlds onto existing physical rides and altering the sensations of motion can deliver new experiences of thrill, but designing how motion is mapped between physical ride and virtual world is challenging. In this paper , we present the notion of an abstract machine, a new form of intermediate design knowledge that communicates motion mappings at the level of metaphor, mechanism and implementation. Following a performance-led, in-the-wild approach we report lessons from creating and touring VR Playground, a ride that overlays four distinct abstract machines and virtual worlds on a playground swing. We compare the artist's rationale with riders' reported experiences and analysis of their physical behaviours to reveal the distinct thrills of each abstract machine. Finally, we discuss how to make and use abstract machines in terms of heuristics for designing motion mappings, principles for virtual world design and communicating experiences to riders. CCS CONCEPTS • Human-centered computing → Empirical studies in interaction design;


Tennent, P., Marshall, J., Brundell, P., Walker, B., & Benford, S. (2019). Abstract Machines Overlaying Virtual Worlds on Physical Rides.

Conference Name 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Start Date May 4, 2019
End Date May 9, 2019
Acceptance Date Jan 9, 2019
Online Publication Date May 3, 2019
Publication Date 2019-05
Deposit Date Jan 9, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jan 23, 2019
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Keywords Virtual Reality; Rides; Thrill; Abstract Machines; Design Knowledge; Visual Kinaesthetic Experiences
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