Consent and Vulnerability in Mixed Reality

This week-long project was a mixed-reality exploration of psychological vulnerability and consent. In the Immersive Experience’s first week’s Knife Game project ( ), users felt insecure when they were asked to put their hands inside a black box with tactile interaction. The sense of vulnerability seemed to heighten their immersion. This initial exploration was around “How might we build vulnerability into the user experience?”

The team discovered through storyboarding and bodystorming that consent could enhance or diminish vulnerability. The exploration’s core interaction was thus around consent, and what happens around one’s hand. The project was thus framed as an experiment, with consent screens but also how perception & vulnerability shifted when consent reduced one’s control over one’s experiences. 

The user’s experience is interjected with consent forms and questions, which are used to prime the user. At a later stage, if the user gives consent, their hands are subjected to various “stabs” by other people (who are not visible to the user). After ending the experience, the user is asked to plot an emotional seismograph, plotting their sense of vulnerability after each consent screen.

The application was built using Raspberry Pi, a Stepper & DC Motor HAT, three solenoids, Spacebrew, Unity 2019, Python 2.7 (NOT 3), the Adafruit Motor HAT driver, and two other laptops with Spacebrew.