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January 2017

with Shu-Ting Huang, Nat Martin,

and Jack O'Leary McNeice

Situator is an iconoclastic Virtual Reality experience that forces people to question their own values of media consumption.


There is a fundamental contradiction inherent to contemporary virtual reality technology. It successfully relates digital content to space, but it does so by isolating us completely from the real space around us. Instead, Situator is a platform for sharing experiences. While virtual reality is an incredibly immersive and exciting technology, the experience breaks down at its edges. The act of putting on virtual reality goggles completely cuts users off from the real people and physical space around them. It can replace our senses of sound and sight, but does nothing to our sense of touch or to our sense of our own bodies.


Because Situator does not use any body-mounted devices, the experience is as natural and as shareable as a physical interaction. It lies between virtual reality, an emerging and unrefined technology with unprecedented immersiveness and dynamism, and cinema, a highly developed and codified medium for telling stories. The experience can be as immersive and localized as VR, but still allows filmmakers to use familiar tools like cut scenes, pans, zooms, and handheld camerawork.


The platform allows anyone with a smartphone to capture and create content as easily as conventional filming. Yaw, pitch, and roll values are recorded at the camera for each frame of video. Those values are then used to move the screen through the same path, creating a moving window into a remote space. Everything that was static in the world where the video was captured remains static in the world in which it is viewed.


Situator orients viewers in a remote space, enables communication of new forms of perspective, and creates a less passive and more engaging form of digital experience.

It is a shared virtual reality experience with the fidelity and the conventions of a film and the immersion of virtual reality.

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