Most people think of Virtual Reality (VR) as a tool that is great for gaming and immersive experiences. In this project, our client wanted to go even further, by using this tool to bring traffic education into Flanders’ classrooms. Aeroplane and Achilles joined forces to create VRkeer, a virtual traffic education game in which children encounter a series of traffic scenarios that contain vital safety lessons and directions. The game required a dedicated set of VR hardware that was easy to transport, setup in classrooms, and used by children.
Aeroplane (Achilles Design’s VR spin-off) was assigned with the creation of this virtual world and all of its characters, objects and challenges. They needed a dedicated controller to make the experience of riding your bicycle through a virtual word as authentic as possible. We designed a steering wheel that houses two Oculus Touch controllers and offers a manipulation similar to a bicycle handlebar.
The Interfaces VR uses vary wildly from game to game. These interfaces operate in all 3 dimensions, allowing for new and creative interaction designs. Unfortunately, these spatial interfaces are often confusing for first-time users. Since the VRkeer education sets will move from classroom to classroom, we had to shorten the users’ learning curve as much as possible.
To lower the learning curve, we designed a VR interface that works in only 2 dimensions. The interface and controller handlebar are designed around the natural rotation of a bicycle handlebar. The handlebar rolls on top of the table with 4 rollers, allowing it to rotate freely around its center. This makes the navigation and riding experience feel very authentic to cycling. Once children wear the VR goggles, they intuitively know what to do and start climbing up their learning curve.