The Other Side

Visiting a loved one in the afterlife
IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE COURSE AT COPENHAGEN INSTITUTE OF INTERACTION DESIGN

A graveyard of the future

How might we create meaningful interactions between the deceased and their living friends and family?

A person’s death shouldn’t mean the end of their presence in the lives of their friends and families. Cemeteries and graveyards in modern societies, by the nature of their construction, invite only static or uni-directional social interactions between the visitors and the deceased. The service aims to enrich the connection through the example of a grave along with virtual reality tools. The proposed interaction will engage the visitor to build an ongoing relationship with the deceased.

Solution

THE SERVICE

The Other Side is an afterlife service created to leave behind a more intimate memory of yourself for your loved ones. Instead of cold tombstones, we provide an immersive experience in which visitors can feel presence and peace.

EXPERIENCE PROTOTYPING

To prototype this service, we used an HTC Vive programmed with 360 videos along with various stage tools to supplement the experience. The service The Other Side primes participants with imagining a close one that may have passed in order to build narrative immersion. The heat lamp, wind, sandpit, bottled scents, rocks and hand-holding were used to create spatial immersion by evoking sight, sound, smell, and touch.

Learnings

BEYOND VIRTUAL REALITY

Virtual reality creates an illusion of reality using only parts of human senses – vision and sound. To immerse people in the fictional world, activating all senses was crucial. Haptic sense, which we simulated by holding hands of the participants, was the strongest stimuli that blurred the line between the real and virtual world.

It’s fascinating how the technology quickly fades away while your senses and imagination takes over. The wind, the heat, walking on the sand and feeling your hand, the combination of all that… It allowed me to go into the journey about my father who had passed away. It surprised me to experience that the technology could triggers such a personal reflection.”

STIVEN KERESTEGIAN • HEAD OF INNOVATION AT CIID

DESIGNING THE EXIT EXPERIENCE

The experience we prototyped consisted of 5 stages starting from entering the site to the end of VR experience. From user testing, we learned to include the exit experience as a part of the user journey. The emotional impact that the experience had on the participants was bigger than we had anticipated and few of them needed a room for handling their emotion. From there we took a lesson to take more responsibility to design for sensitive topics such as death.

A photo of the cistern in Copenhagen. It was an inspiration for the physical site where the VR experience is hosted.

ROLE:  Ideation, Concept development, Experience prototyping, 360° video making, Editing

TEAM:  Bora Kim, Anoushka Garg, James Zhou, Stephanie Lee

DURATION:  1weeks

MEDIA:  VR & 360° experience, Service

TOOLS:  Brainstorming / HTC Vive / 360° camera / Adobe Premiere Pro

INSTRUCTORS:  Joshua Walton, James Tichenor