Virtual Immersive Adventure

A project that lets you engage and interact with the physical world.

Project VIA is designed to immerse you

in a playful, open-ended experience.

Can you figure out where in the world you are?


Finished Product

Project VIA as it was set up on the day of exhibition. The multiple screens screens can be seen in addition to the table, boat, and magnets. Collectively representing a blend of physical and virtual technology, exhibit attendees were able to engage with it themselves on May 31st, 2013.

Physical: Table & Boat

LED lit laser cut acryllic plates formed the platform on which the compass and toy boat sits. The boat was tracked from above, with its position coordinates and rotation information sent to the main computer. The compass was meant to show users where to move the boat to get the next hint.

Physical: Magnets & Ferrofluid

The magnetic ferrofluid was controlled using magnets attached to tiny motors on an arduino unit, giving users a hint as to where to go next. It was made of iron filings, oil, and a surfactant. The spiked shapes made by the fluid indicate the magnetic field.

Virtual: Guessing System

The guessing system interaction was designed to invoke the imagery of a detective's corkboard, drawing red virtual strings from the guessed location to the actual location, much like a detective solving a mystery. A scoring system tracked which users could most precisely guess where they were.

Virtual: Panoramas

Panoramas form the visual mode in which users can explore their surroundings. Using Google Street View API, the VIA project is able to use the expansive dataset of everyday panoramic views to provide unique, open-ended experiences to the overall adventure.


The day of exhibition was where we were able to observe user interactions with the VIA project, elicit feedback about their experiences, and evaluate the success of the project. Enough attendees seemed to be interested enough to form a crowd, which was part of our success criteria.


World Café

World Café is an open-ended, exploratory approach to brainstorming, in which no idea is too 'out there'. Together, we shared ideas and talked openly to develop new interaction paradigms for VIA. Many of our ideas emerged from this approach.

Design Methods

A variety of design methodologies were used. I facilitated the flow of ideas through unconditional positive regard, mutual respect, and openness. Design methods included concept mapping and co-design workshops.

Hardware Build

The hardware was built using a hybrid agile/waterfall processes. I put together the ferrofluid, materials for electromagnets, prototype materials, and setting up the 'hidden' camera used to track the boat.

Software Development

The software was built in tandem with the hardware, iteratively increasing in complexity after testing with the hardware. I designed the boat location- and rotation-tracking interaction, the prototype, and sovled a wide variety of technical issues.

Mark Zoethout, Exhibit Attendee:

"I feel like I've just been around the world and back! A really amazing learning experience."


Read the Report

Prior Outputs


eMotion reader


initial functional iteration

Team Blog

g+ online collaboration

Want to know more? | a little about me

My name is Kit Brown-Watts, a student in the Master of Interaction Design program at the University of Queensland. My background is in psychology and computer science.

I think we're well due for moving beyond the mouse and keyboard in our everyday interactions with computers.

I love working on projects that make science fiction become a reality.

Contact me