VSMM 2019- into the future of XR and Exponential Inclusive Tech

VSMM 2019: into the future of XR and Exponential Inclusive Tech
Thursday, October 17, 2019 - 1:30pm to 6:30pm

The International Society for Virtual Systems and Multimedia is a unique cross-disciplinary organization for the exchange of cutting edge research in new media and virtual and augmented reality applied to everything from art to architecture, medicine to engineering, and archaeology to cultural heritage. One of the oldest and most prestigious VR and multimedia conference,  proceedings are published with the IEEE.

This year we are holding 3 local VSMM events in Toronto, Dublin and Berlin.
Come learn about virtual reality, virtual worlds, accessibility in VR-AR and exponential technologies, and how inclusive design can be integrated for a diverse and inclusive virtual (and actual) reality.

Stay for discussions by leaders in the field. Network and find out how to engage, enrol in XR bootcamps with the SMARTlab INCLUDE XR Impact Labs (in partnership with VR First) including one coming soon to OCADU.

VSMM Toronto 2019 Agenda, 17 October

1:30-2:00 Black Box Theatre, 49 McCaul Street: Presentation
(note, seating in the black box is limited to the first 40 participants)

1:30        Colin Clark (Assistant Director, IDRC) Welcome from OCAD University
1:40        Dr Lynne Heller on The Technological Sublime

2:00-3:00 Open Gallery, M9 McCaul Street: Technology displays, Networking and refreshments

A chance for students to sign up to work with VSMM 2020 and opportunity to learn more about free certified Facebook training in Innovation, AI, Web, Social Media and Cyersecurity training with SMARTlab, and about a few new scholarships forthcoming in the SMARTlab global practice-based PhD in Inclusive Design and Creative Technology Innovation

3:00 -5:00 Black Box Theatre, 49 McCaul Street: Presentations
(note, seating in the black box is limited to the first 40 participants)

3:00        Prof Hal Thwaites (Previous President of VSMM- Sunway University & SMARTlab) Keynote on the Past, Present and Potential Future of VSMM  
3:30        Prof Martha Ladly and team: Decoding Origins: Approaching African Identities Through Data Collection and Visualisation
4:00        Dr Nina Czegledy (Leonardo) on Reporting on Disparity: Two events Oceans apart in Toronto and New Plymouth (New Zealand)
4:20        Dr Doreen Balabanoff (OCADU) on The Global Birth Environment Design Network: towards a virtual platform that can be a global resource for better birth environment design
4:45        Mohsen Mahjoobnia (OCADU + SMARTlab PhD candidate) on VR to provide access to nature to address isolation and mental health issues/accessibility issues in XR
5:10        Prof Lizbeth Goodman (Director SMARTlab, VSMM Vice President): VSMM 2019 Overview- events in 2019 + Introducing INCLUDE, Academy of the Future, and Be-Earth Experience (with Ylva Hansdotter and the UN Igo for Sustainability)
5:40        Prof Alonzo Addison (UC Berkeley & SMARTlab, VSMM President): Generational Planning and Publication: VSMM and Digital Cultural Heritage- next steps  
6pm       Prof Jutta Treviranus (Director, IDRC at OCADU, DEEP Chair & SMARTlab)-  Final wrap-up discussion, WELCOME to DEEP) & Last chance to sign up for VSMM, publications committee, scholarship and training opportunities etc.

6:30pm End & chance to wander with the team in the gorgeous city of Toronto!

Venue & Address: 
49 McCaul Street

One for Sorrow

One for Sorrow (2018 - ongoing) is a virtual reality (VR) landscape/game/sojourn that seeks to confound the dichotomies between hand and digital making as well as the illusion of two dimensionality versus three. The making process is a way to position and trouble the translation of the handmade into the digital using collage, assemblage and montage along with using craft theory. Though ostensibly a first-person puzzle game, the experience uses the old nursery rhyme One for Sorrow to entice the player to explore and discover, not necessarily mixed realities, but rather, mixed sensibilities—2D/3D, hand/algorithm, drawn/photographic. Digital and handmade aesthetics, coupled with considered sound design and narrative, evoke an immersive experience and provide an unorthodox model for VR art.

Research Team: 
Lynne Heller, Ph.D.
Adjunct Professor
Data Materialization Studio/Faculty of Design
OCAD University, Canada

David McClyment
Professor & Program Co-ordinator
Fine Arts Studio
Centennial College, Canada

Antônio Mozelli
ELAP Researcher
OCAD University, Canada
Lab|Front/UEMG, Brazil

Screen capture from "One for Sorrow" environment. Black ground with ethereal charcoal black forms.
Screen capture from "One for Sorrow" environment. Black ground with ethereal charcoal black forms and black scaffolding.
Screen capture from "One for Sorrow" environment. A digitally drawn crow stands in front of a charcoal drawing of a crow.
Screen capture from "One for Sorrow" environment. Text for the poem "one for sorrow"
Screen capture from "One for Sorrow" environment. White ground with ethereal charcoal black forms.
Screen capture from "One for Sorrow" environment. White ground with a hazy charcoal drawing of a wasp.
Thursday, March 14, 2019 - 10:45am
Lab Member: 
Lynne Heller
Antônio Mozelli

Veronika Szkudlarek, Teaching Intensive Stream, Lecturer

Veronika Szkudlarek is interested in the interdisciplinary and innovative possibilities of paint and digital imaging. She uses traditional analogue material like oil paints with animation software like Cinema 4D, After Effects, Dragonframe and Photoshop.  She looks to areas of growth, including technology and expanded practices for inspiration most recently using VR technology to make 3D paintings.  

Designing a Pedestrian Simulator for Autonomous Vehicles in Mixed Traffic

As autonomous vehicles are introduced to our roads, they will co-exist with vehicles of varying levels of autonomy, including those that are manually-driven or semi-autonomous. While manually-driven vehicles can communicate with pedestrians through cues such as eye contact and hand gestures, semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles will not. To study this future interaction, we designed a pedestrian simulator in virtual reality (VR). We immersed participants in VR to evaluate how they could make safe crossing decisions when faced with vehicles of varying autonomy level. Our findings highlight the role interfaces play in communicating awareness and intent, across vehicles of all autonomy levels, and demonstrate the usefulness of immersive pedestrian simulators in designing autonomous vehicle interfaces.

Mahadevan, K., Sanoubari, E., Somanath, S., Young, J. E., & Sharlin, E. (2019, June). AV-Pedestrian Interaction Design Using a Pedestrian Mixed Traffic Simulator. In Proceedings of the 2019 on Designing Interactive Systems Conference (pp. 475-486). ACM.

Find the paper at: https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=3322328 

Pedestrian Simulator
Friday, October 19, 2018 - 10:45pm
Lab Member: 
Karthik Mahadevan

DIVERGE - Digital Futures Graduate Exhibition 2018

Thursday, April 12, 2018 - 6:00pm to Sunday, April 15, 2018 - 6:00pm

Thursday, April 12, 2018 - 6:00 PM

Friday, April 13th to Sunday, April 15th |  12PM-6PM


  1. To develop in a different direction.
  2. The evolution of different forms or structures in related species as they adapt to different environments.
  3. In a series, increasing indefinitely as more of its terms are added.

The Digital Futures Graduate Exhibition is an annual event, hosted by Graduate Studies at OCADU and our partners at the CFC Media Lab. The show features Master of Design, Master of Fine Arts, and Master of Arts thesis projects that encompasses a wide range of topics, including: augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence and communicative domains, civic media, digital and electronic fabrication, digital art, educational video games, gesture technologies, information visualization, immersive audio-visual environments, participatory multimedia, performances, post-physical sculpture, therapeutic devices, video and more!

"Our students don’t just make things with emerging technologies - they think creatively and critically about how, why, and when we should use and engage with these ideas and tools- and when we should not. The artworks, prototypes, demonstrations, and performances in Diverge bring this research to life in a rich interactive format. We invite our colleagues from industry, fellow universities, art, design, and maker communities to come join us for this important and exciting exhibition." -Kate Hartman, Graduate Program Director, Digital Futures.


Samaa Ahmed

Thoreau Bakker

Bijun Chen

Mudit Ganguly

Sara Gazzaz

Yawen Guo

Afaq Ahmed Karadia

Mahsa Karimi

Nadine Lessio

Ania Medrek

Katie Micak

Natasha Mody

Afrooz Samaei

Shreeya Tyagi

April Xie

Rana Zandi

Hammadullah Syed

Manik Perera Gunatilleke

DIVERGE is presented by:

CFC Media Lab and OCAD University

Venue & Address: 
49 McCaul St. Open Gallery

Artist Talk: Priam Givord

Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm

Priam GIVORD is a senior digital artist, designer & technologist. He was born in France and now lives in Toronto, Canada. Priam is an artist and interactive designer with a career focused to date on the digitally­-mediated spatial experience of things. This encompasses three intersecting, mutually­ reinforcing streams: Commercial, R&D and Academic. Since he graduated from the Applied Arts in Paris and obtained his DEA from Paris VIII University, he has designed and built large high-­end interactive installations, through his own company, for clients ranging from the “Daily Planet” TV show, Remington real­-estate developments, to the NFB in Canada. His works encompass interactive technologies ranging from large multi­touch surfaces, hardware, Google Glass, to VR and video-­game engine-­based applications. His work has been exhibited internationally, at venues such as the New York Museum of Moving image (see www.nyxtny.com) and the prestigious SIGGRAPH conference in California. Priam also teaches & writes curriculum for universities like NYU and OCADU. He currently works free-lance.

His current work includes the VR installation Small Wonders, which can be viewed on YouTube at, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mc4MA8srQDM

This VR exhibit extension went on display internationally at the AGO ,the NYC MET Cloisters, Korea's National Museum of Contemporary Art and many other venues and has been awarded at the 2017 The American Alliance of Museums award.

Workshop Summary:

Priam Givord has been working and experimenting with videogame engine technology and real-time 3D graphics for over 15 years. In this talk he will first introduce 3D scanning and the integration of large scan data in real-time 3D Virtual Reality environments (here Unity 3D and Touch Designer), more precisely from a high-resolution micro CT scan and also from photogrammetry. Second, he will talk about the graphic treatment of these 3D objects inside the VR space and will showcase examples from a his artistic research on materiality in the VR space.

He is using and will share Touch Designer as a prototyping and exploratory platform which allows unrivalled flexibility and depth of control over the 3D data sets he is creating using various 3D scanning resources.

Priam is also going to demonstrate the award-winning VR installation "Small Wonders" to the audience during the workshop so the material discussed is available to experience first-hand.

Short workshop items list in dis-order:

- photogrammetry (scanning a 3D object or space using photographs) - maybe do a quick hand-on application

- 3D data structure of different scan sources and show how they are getting converted into VR assets

- manage massive 3D scan datasets and have them run at 90fps in VR, that will be the VR integration into two specific VR software platforms, namely Unity 3D and Touch Designer.

- artistic choices: how to shade (style) these dataset 3D objects in real-time environments (such as VR) using rendering techniques that are specific to real-time 3D graphics.

- why game engines VS Touch Designer-like have pros and cons, and why I prototype in Touch Designer and deliver in game engines mostly.

Venue & Address: 
Visual Analytics Lab 7th Floor of 205 Richmond St. W.
RSVP gradstudies@ocadu.ca
Priam Givord Talk

From Within an Active PoV: Feminist VR Game Making

From Within an Active PoV: Feminist VR Game Making is a research-creation project that investigates a feminist intervention in virtual reality game-making. It aims to build a generous and inclusive coalition of feminists in games by bringing feminist VR makers together and studying how, what, and why they make VR games.

From Within an Active PoV builds on the research of ReFiG, a 5 year project supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Composed of an international collective of scholars, community organizers and industry representatives, ReFiG is committed to promoting diversity and equity in the game industry and culture and effecting real change in an often myopic space that has been exclusionary to many. ReFig accomplishes this by intervening in four areas: game cultures, the games industry, informal learning environments, and formal education.

Unlike the world of commercial digital gaming, the VR ecosystem includes diverse voices: marginalized makers are visible in this emerging sector of technology (for example, CFC Open Immersion lab is open to indigenous artists and artists from the global south).  The inherent physicality of VR (which involves two audiences: the immersant and the voyeur) is also an opportunity to explore feminist approaches to game-making. From its development in the early nineties VR art has been driven by female artists, including works such as Catherine Richards’ Spectral Bodies (1991) and Char Davies' Osmose (1995). This clearly indicates a feminist interest in the ability of VR technologies to extend and reconfigure embodied experience. By featuring a living body, performance (and subsequently VR) allows women to “assert themselves as the active and self-determining agents of their own narratives” [1].

Through feminist game jams (distinguished by methods engaged and identification of participants) supported by multiple approaches to research documentation situated in OCAD University’s game:play lab, From Within an Active PoV will produce a series of VR sketches that explore, document, and instantiate a range of feminist approaches to processes of capture, design and development and interface.​ Engaging politically motivated activity in game cultures should grow from a purposeful playfulness in approach: playfulness is a much more potent force than direct conflict and offers an important means of engagement. 

​This will culminate in public exhibition and a co-Laboratory. Interested ReFiG researchers will join an open call for participation to these research jams. The jams will be documented using multiple methods (audio, video, note-taking, sketching, mapping, etc.) and the outcome shared in a range of channels including publication (academic and on the web), learning kits (for use in community and classroom) and via exhibition.

Additional Resources:
ReFig Website 
CFC Open Immersion Lab

1. Wark, Jane. 2006. Radical Gestures, Feminism, and Performance Art in North America. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press.

This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.





Photographs of immersants interacting with VR technology
Photograph of girl kneeling while playing a VR game
Photograph of two people: an immersant steps forward while interacting with VR and is observed by a second person
Photograph of a person using VR. Their right arm is extended forward as they move through the game world.
Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - 11:00am

Research Rendezvous with EMMA WESTECOTT

Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm

This talk will explore a SSHRC-funded project “From Within an Active PoV” that makes a feminist intervention in virtual reality game-making. From the fundamentally physical nature of VR to its inclusion of diverse voices the hope is that this research will offer some generative approaches for future makers. This presentation will explore questions such as ‘How does VR create opportunities that facilitate “discursive spaces, new styles, modes of analysis and argument, new genres and forms — that contest the limits and constraints currently at work?”’ (Grosz, 1995, p.23)

Emma Westecott is an Associate Professor in Game Design and Director of the game:play lab at OCAD U. She has worked in the game industry for over 20 years: in development, research and the academy. She achieved international recognition for working closely with Douglas Adams as producer for the best-selling CD-ROM Adventure Game, Starship Titanic (1998, Simon & Schuster). Since then, Emma has built up a worldwide reputation for developing original as well as popular game projects. As core faculty in the Digital Futures program since 2010 Emma has taught at both undergraduate and graduate levels and has built out courses in games studies, design and development across the University.

Venue & Address: 
205 Richmond St. W, Room 120
Same text as event description

OCAD University showcases Virtual Reality at VRTO 2017

Sunday, June 25, 2017 - 10:00am to Monday, June 26, 2017 - 6:00pm

OCAD University students and faculty are showcasing their work in virtual reality and augmented reality at VRTO 2017, with workshops, keynotes, and experiences in virtual and augmented reality, spanning the breath of technology and techniques that have contributed to the success of virtual and mixed reality technologies today.

OCAD U staff and students receive a discount of 45% off when they use the code OCAD2017 on Eventbrite.

President, Dr. Sarah Diamond will be delivering the keynote address.

OCAD U participants:

  • Michael Page will be speaking about Holography, and showing some of his work in the Multimodal Experience Pavilion
  • Alex Mayhew is showcasing his AR work in the Multimodal Experience Pavilion
  • Claire Brunet will be speaking about her work on 3D scanning, and demonstrating in the Innovation Room.
  • Hector Centeno Garcia will demonstrate spatial audio and physical interactions in a virtual reality
  • Fasun Uzun is showing her short film experience in VR.

Date: June 25th and 26th

Time: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Daily.



Venue & Address: 
Rogers Communications Centre, 80 Gould St., Toronto, Ontario

Claire Brunet presents: Trans: duRéel auVirtuel

Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 11:30am

Claire Brunet: Trans: duRéel auVirtuel

Project description:  When spatial platforms become a means to investigate technological advances, allowing for more intimate or immersive interactions with objects in space, my focus shift from real to virtual spaces.

Trans: duRéel auVirtuel is a virtual reality (VR) experience that explores the concept of identity through diverse artistic mediums inside of an immersive environment. A sense of self is conveyed throughout the experience, underlining the present time, when technological developments broaden the notion of identity. The project builds on different approaches to 3D scanning technology—both indoors and outdoors—including body digitizing, to create figurative sculptural forms that are experienced by the viewer as objects of introspection in virtual space.

This project engages artistically with objects and space within immersive environments allowing for an enhanced phenomenological approach to forming the viewer’s experience. Furthermore, it brings artistic perspectives to interactive platforms conventionally developed for gaming. Inspired by a transition from the tangible object to its digitized form, my research aims at investigating different ways to creatively engage with virtual environments.

Venue & Address: 
digital image with dark background and geometric line structure