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I’m attending IEEE VR for the first time! I’m currently not in academia although my day job is as an educator in a tertiary institution. Still wanna scope out what is happening in academia with regards to VR and 3D User Interfaces. The sessions are virtual and online, which makes it easy to attend from anywhere in the world. They’re using Virbela and so I had a walk around the world before the conference.

I don’t really know where I had entered my job role during signup (possibly during registration?) but anyway my job role appears to be permanently stuck on top of my head. Oh God. Will everyone see this? What am I? What is “Lecturer” even. Just “Educator Track” huh. I’m not an academic, not even a post-doc, or a phd student. A “lecturer”. WHAT AM I? HELP ME!

Anyway, existential crisis aside, you get to customise your avatar and there’s a range of fairly conservative and not extreme options to choose from. Nope, you can’t be a pink-skinned alien like in Second Life, but yes, you can wear flip flops around the virtual campus – ooh, edgy (In Singapore you’d be met by your teacher’s cries of: “What is this? A Fish Market???“).

When you step into the highlighted zones, they’re supposed to represent private zones so you can only hear and see messages from people within those zones. Nice idea to reduce the chaos.

There are scenic vistas and rooftop areas to visit. Imagine a campus full of chill out zones and virtual tvs where you can load your website or video or presentation deck onto for everyone to view.

There was a beach with firepits. I like that there are post-it prompts for discussion. Haven’t you ever stepped into a room in VRchat and you have no idea what to talk about, or the other players are 5 year olds and it is impossible to have a decent conversation anyway… I do look forward to seeing whether it will be a different experience here next week.

Of course, very important is being able to go out on the sea on a speedboat. Who doesn’t want to be on a speedboat. I was impressed that I could also stop at other parts of the shoreline and climb back onto mainland.

This is what the virtual auditorium looks like. You can click on any of the seats to sit down and you can bring focus to the three giant screens in this virtual auditorium. Pretty excited to see how this looks like. I guess I will add on to this post after I have attended the conference itself (12 March – 16 March).

MORE SOON?

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