Tangible VR: Diegetic Tangible Objects for Virtual Reality Narratives

Published Paper


Daniel Harley, Aneesh P. Tarun, Daniel Germinario, and Ali Mazalek. 2017. Tangible VR: Diegetic Tangible Objects for Virtual Reality Narratives. In Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS '17). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1253-1263. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3064663.3064680


We present a system for diegetic tangible objects in virtual reality (VR) narratives. The system integrates a customdesigned sensor unit, built with low-cost off-the-shelf hardware, to track objects in VR and to support a variety of custom-made and found tangibles. In its current form, the sensor unit tracks the objects’ orientation and supports the authoring of specifically designed interactions for each tangible object. We contribute our design rationale, sensor unit, and four proof of concept prototypes, including a cube, a stuffed animal, a treasure chest, and a wooden boat, demonstrating how we leverage passive and active haptics to create a closer link between real and virtual worlds. For developers and users of VR, we expand interaction possibilities to include the physical characteristics of tangible objects. For the field of tangible narratives, we expand the current use of diegetic objects.

Year Published



Tangible and Embodied Digital Storytelling

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