Guest Lecture 1: Mr. Maureira from Leiden University

Guest Lecture 1: Mr. Maureira from Leiden University

Jun 2, 2020
馃挕Guest Lecture
In his talk, Marcello delivers handful insights on his career in the VR / AR sector.

1.1 About the talk

Speaker: Marcello ('Maro') A. G贸mez-Maureira Lecturer (Media Technology MSc) at
Instituion: Leiden Institute for Advanced Computer Science (LIACS)

1.2 Key Takeaways

In a nutshell: Snippets of thoughts I took from the talk itself
  • Hype cycle "Everything will be VR"
  • VR for psychology: After all it turned out, VR more interesting for medical appliances / psychological treatment - e.g. fake airplane situations against fear, help with isolation e.g. during corona time
  • Main value lays is in triggering emotions by design
  • Things can be achieved with basic technology, not necessarily need to be digital
  • Used in Albert Heijn case to find out where people look at
  • Ocolus Rift is just a phone screen
  • Make sure to bring the experts to the team (color blindness etc)
  • HTC Vive has sensors to check where people are in the room, but is restricted to the scale of the room. However by applying the trick to use circular rooms, iit is possible to expand it more and more
  • Make research publicly available: Research conducted in a corporate project scope should be accessible so it's not lost when company e.g. goes bankrupt

2.1 My personal highlight project:

Select which of the presented projects you find most interesting in a technological sense
During his talk, Marcello brought up many examples in the VR space, especially about opportunities regarding psychological treatments during the corona-crisis, which are indeed interesting to analyse for the upcoming VR challenge (
Challenge 1 : AR/VR - The immersive jacuzzi with benefits
) as well.
For now however I picked the Albert Heijn retail VR example, as it relates to my personal background (as explained later in 4.6).

2.2 Further research & related projects

Look up more information about the project and its creator. (And possibly related projects
馃懆馃徑鈥嶐煍 Creator: InContext solutions
馃暪 Tech stack:
- Intel VR technology
- InContext ShopperMX (discontinued)

2.3 The overall objective of InContext

Explain the intended goal of the installation
The overarching objective of VR for retail environments is increasing the shopping experience for consumers by analysing their behaviour in the VR environment.

2.4 What InContext does

Explain what the installation is and does.
VR in the retail segment helps supermarkets with testing new shelf layouts and validate them by conducting test sessions with users.
"On average, InContext Solutions has been able to help brands reduce the cost of sampling by 65%, increase the speed to market by 40%, and improve store audit compliance by 32%. "

2.5 How InContext works

Explain how it works, which technology, sensors, actuators are used?
For vendors, the platform gives use cases to test different shelf arrangements, packaging design or temporary space planning such as sales promotion displays.
According to a YouTube user, the 3D space itself is based on Unity, that can be explored using typical VR hardware.

2.6 Why InContext is interesting in the field of HCI

Explain why this project is interesting in the light of the field of HCI.
I consider it quite challenging to deliver the physical experience of space to a virtual product. If that succeeds though, it can be seen as an example case for many other projects that are still relying on physical spaces. Reportedly, InContext extended their focus to apparel and footwear as well:
It is fascinating though, how immersive VR experiences started to mock real-world environments on such a high level, so they can be used in research to provide evidence for designing physical spaces in the real world.
Yet at the same time by designing the virtual environment already, this carries another opportunity: Deploying this VR experience to the customers, e.g. for online shopping.
Who says, that the way we do our online (grocery) shopping nowadays (using websites, apps & web-apps), is the end of innovation?
In this German TV series "Richtung 2000" from 1972, the imagination on how to do grocery shopping in the future is quite interesting to see. The selection of articles does not happen by using a typical webshop environment, but as they say using a "wireless household dashboard" and a scrolling supermarket shelf displayed on the tv.
Video preview

2.7 Conclusion: Why InContext is meaningful to me

Explain why you find this project interesting
As someone with tech / marketing background, I considered the Albert Heijn example very interesting from a data-driven point of view.
Besides that, I often took part in market research studies in the city when I used to be a child. The research institutes usually had fully furnished indoor test supermarkets where mainly Ferrero tested the exposure and resonance of new products in the PoS (Point-of-sale) context.
Bringing this experience from the physical to the virtual space, potentially enables companies to do more efficient testing and qualitative research on scale, - without the need of having extensive testing environments and relying on manual recruiting on the street.
Overall this approach looks very interesting basically as the A/B testing - counterpart for retail space It enables companies to test different shelf & product arrangements across their (local) target audiences.
Yet again I really see a potential to use the virtual environment for tailored online shopping experiences as well, as there are local differences regarding the arrangement, placement and pricing of articles (based on where customers live - normal or rather posh areas). By offering a gamified VR shopping experience, that is in the best case tailored to the individual customer this might become an interesting shopping option for the future.
However I am a bit doubtful on how the experience really is, whether the experience in the real environment carries side-aspects such as audiovisual that can't be reflected 100% by using VR.
notion image