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Delighting Users with Rich Interactions is Key to Making VR Engaging & Effective



VR software has introduced many new challenges to developers. Among these challenges, rich interactions are at the very core of all the new elements VR software designers need to consider when creating games or general applications.

Guest Article by Enrique Tromp 

Enrique is cofounder and CTO of VRMADA, a tech company providing enterprise VR solutions worldwide. With a strong passion for computer graphics and digital art, his career spans nearly 20 years in simulation, video games, and live interactive experiences. These days he loves taking on challenging VR projects and creating realistic interactions. You can follow his latest work on Twitter @entromp.

It’s no surprise that all the top selling VR games have something in common: their interactions are extremely polished and fun to play with. Games like Job Simulator (2016) paved the way of modern VR interaction while Beat Saber (2019) showed us that simple but engaging interactions can beat big studio productions in this medium as well.

Even though my background includes game development, I’ve spent most of my career developing training simulators. Currently I’m working in the enterprise VR market for training and, as you can imagine, realistic interactions here are key.

When developing a particular interaction, whether it is for games or for training, I always strive for three things: making it a really enjoyable experience, anticipate all kinds of interaction ‘misuses’, and polish it until everything feels right and then some.

Quality VR interactions are key to effective training because they are more engaging and authentic, developing new neural pathways that provide the ability to learn and perform new tasks. They work the same way good professors make lessons entertaining that keep you engaged, facilitating the assimilation of new knowledge. Bad interactions will cause frustration and decrease training efficacy.

The main challenge when developing VR interactions is the amount of freedom that the medium inherently presents to its users. In traditional videogames we use action buttons to interact with the world. The object and the context determine what will happen. In VR we use natural gestures instead; we pick things up like we would do in real-life, we manipulate complex tools, we can throw things around, all using our own hands.

This is a big paradigm shift in the way we design and implement interactions and presents a big challenge because users are inherently curious and they like freedom—especially in VR. Some will follow the ‘expected’ behaviors of the application, but others will be carried by their curiosity and inevitably test the limits of the world before them. Surprising the user by anticipating the creative ways that they interact with objects can make the experience more enjoyable and increase the sense of being in a cohesive world rather than a scripted experience.

In this article I will showcase some of the interactions I’ve developed and offer some thoughts on the design approach to each.

Lab Elements

I’ll start with a sci-fi lab that is part of a sandbox we developed internally to create and test new interaction mechanics.

The lamp on the left presents 3 handles that can be grabbed using a single hand or both hands at the same time, from the inside or the outside. It is attached to the world through a mechanical IK-driven arm that hangs from the ceiling which constrains its range of movement to a sphere and gives context for its ability to be placed in any position.

From all the changes that we made, adding haptics and smoothing out the movement of the lamp had by far the biggest impact on user experience. The smoothing filter conveys the feeling of mechanical resistance (that it’s not possible to move it around that easily) and adding haptics multiplies this feeling tenfold. It is also very gratifying to see how the mechanical arm follows the lamp around when you move it, and how it keeps swinging a little when you release it. These are little things that we add for no other reason than to keep the user happy and engaged.

The laser has a different IK setup. One of the things that we tried to experiment with is the rubber joint that joins the head with the arm and gives it two degrees of rotational freedom. We got the inspiration from the avatar wrist in the game Lone Echo and thought it was a cool way to model a ball joint.

The laser beam works by casting a ray from the tip and creating a polygon strip simulating the burn if the surface has been exposed long enough. Smoke particles help to add a bit more detail as well.

Lab Battery

This clip showcases a battery swap in the same sci-fi environment. The main purpose is to study objects with different constraints that need to be manipulated correctly in order to complete the task.

The first step is opening the door, while the object can only be rotated around its axis. Being anchored to the world has a very important consequence in the grab action: instead of the object snapping to the hand, it is the hand that will snap to the handle.

The second step is slightly more complex because it involves using both hands to unlock the mechanism that keeps the battery in place. If you try to pull out the battery without unlocking it first, the hand will maintain the grip or snap back to its position if pulled away too far.

Once the lock is open the battery can be extracted, which is accomplished by constraining the position allowing it to slide only along the tube until it comes free.


The first challenge when recreating a drill in VR is to determine the necessary conditions to start the drilling process. After all, there is no physical resistance in real-life that prevents someone from moving their hand through a wall in VR.

In this example, the conditions that are required are:

  • The drill bit must be able to penetrate the material it’s pressed against
  • The drill bit needs to be oriented at a correct angle against the surface.
  • The drill needs to be slowly pushed against the surface when the user presses the trigger.

If the user tries to pull the tool any other way than out during the drilling process, the drill will be kept in place and the hand will snap back if it is moved too far away from it.

Subtle haptics play a big role in the interaction making things such as the drill rotation or the physical resistance of the medium more believable.

Continue Reading on Page 2: Cabling and Rope & Tire »

The post Delighting Users with Rich Interactions is Key to Making VR Engaging & Effective appeared first on Road to VR.



Binance Coin, IOTA, Synthetix Network Price Analysis: 27 October



Crypto Fear and Greed Index dropped from 75 to 61 as Bitcoin was quite volatile the previous day, going as high as $13,250 and dropping to as low as $12,785. This could have spooked some traders and shifted sentiment from euphoria to a little less ecstatic. Binance Coin posted strong gains. IOTA exhibited a bearish divergence and failed to break out to the upside, and Synthetix exhibited a bearish pattern on the charts.

Binance Coin [BNB]

Binance Coin, IOTA, Synthetix Network Price Analysis: 27 October

Source: BNB/USDT on TradingView

Using the Fibonacci Retracement tool for BNB’s early September surge from $18 to $33, some important retracement levels (white) were noted.

BNB bulls were able to defend the 23.6% retracement level at $29.75 and were even able to push the price past a region of resistance at $30.5.

The $31 mark was important, as a rise above it could propel BNB toward $31.9 and perhaps even $32.6.

The RSI also showed bullish momentum for the coin as it showed a value of 63.


Binance Coin, IOTA, Synthetix Network Price Analysis: 27 October

Source: IOTA/USD on TradingView

IOTA formed a cup and handle pattern (white). The rim of the cup was at $0.29 (orange, dotted). However, just as IOTA reached the breakout point, there was a divergence between the price and momentum.

This divergence (pink) was followed by IOTA posting losses and can expect to find support at the $0.265 level.

At press time, the MACD indicated strong downward momentum, as the bearish crossover it had formed recently was moving beneath the zero line.

Synthetix Network [SNX]

Binance Coin, IOTA, Synthetix Network Price Analysis: 27 October

Source: SNX/USDT on TradingView

Synthetix was forming a descending triangle pattern (white), a bearish pattern that generally sees the price break down beneath the base of the triangle.

The OBV also highlighted the lack of buying volume behind the asset, signifying that sellers were dominant.

SNX could drop as low as $2.84 or $2.6 in the next week or two if it closed beneath the base of the triangle, and beneath support at $3.36.


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William Hinman, who led efforts in crypto policies, to leave US SEC



Director of US Security and Exchange Commission’s Division of Corporation Finance, William (Bill) Hinman has decided to leave SEC later this year, according to the agency’s notice published today.

After joining SEC in 2017, Hinman has so far led SEC’s early work with digital assets, initial coin offering (ICO), and contributed to providing evaluations whether cryptocurrencies qualified as securities. At that time, emergence of cryptocurrencies had caused a period of intense scrutiny and regulatory review – which led to popularization of the “Howey” test to determine when an asset is a regulated security. In fact, in that regard, in mid-2018, Hinman had announced that Ether was not a security and stated that:

…Based on my understanding of the present state of Ether, the Ethereum network and its decentralized structure, current offers and sales of Ether are not securities transactions. And, as with Bitcoin, applying the disclosure regime of the federal securities laws to current transactions in Ether would seem to add little value.

Hinman also oversaw SEC’s 2018 launch of the Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology, or FinHub, which offers resources on federal securities laws.

Further, in a separate post, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said that Hinman had provided the Chairman with advice on issues regarding the emergence of crypto, the disclosure of cybersecurity risks and incidents, among others.

After Hinman’s exit from the SEC, the current Deputy Director of Corp Fin, Shelley Parratt will serve as the “Acting” Director of the Division of Corporation Finance.


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PayPal Aims to Buy Bit Go, a California-Based Crypto Exchange



Now that PayPal has permitted the buying and selling of bitcoin and other forms of crypto on its site, it would appear the company fancies itself the ultimate crypto platform, and apparently, it’s looking to expand its horizons with the potential purchase of exchanges like Bit Go.

PayPal Has Its Sights Set on Bit Go

PayPal announced early last week that it would allow users to purchase items and services with cryptocurrency through its platform. In addition, people could also trade and purchase cryptocurrencies themselves, making PayPal the latest addition to the world of crypto exchanges. Everyone reacted positively to the news, with traders and enthusiasts breaking out the champagne and the price of bitcoin itself exploding in ways nobody saw coming.

The price of the asset shot up from the high $11,000 range to around $13,100, making a more than $1,000 gain for BTC in just a matter of days.

But now it looks like PayPal has gotten a serious taste for crypto. Bitten by the “bitcoin bug,” to put things lightly, the company has been in talks with cryptocurrency exchanges like Bit Go to see about potential acquisitions and exchange purchases.

What’s intriguing about this is that Bit Go is not just a trading platform. Instead, it offers its own unique wallet structure and serves as a custodian of sorts. It also features cold storage options, meaning that all assets are stored offline and in safes, thereby preventing hackers from getting their fingers on cryptocurrencies they haven’t earned, much less deserve.

To top things off, Bit Go also provides tax services, portfolio management and trading options. The company is much less a crypto exchange and more of a full-scale financial services firm. Should the company be purchased by the likes of PayPal, it would make the latter larger and much more powerful than ever.

Various sources claiming to be familiar with the talks PayPal has been having with Bit Go say that should the company decide to go ahead with the purchase, this could happen over the course of the next few weeks. However, they are warning traders and enthusiasts not to get too excited yet, as nothing is set in stone and PayPal has not decided whether it will purchase Bit Go or turn its vision to another venture.

A Solid History

Bit Go was founded in California roughly seven years ago in 2013. Based in Palo Alto in the Silicon Valley, the company has raised a total of $70 million through five separate funding rounds. Past investors in the company include Galaxy Digital, Redpoint and Valor Equity Partners.

Last April, the company acquired Lumina, a financial platform designed to manage digital currencies. Thus, should PayPal decide to move ahead with the purchase, it would inherently be gaining access to two digital currency companies, not just one.

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