In this video, we're going to watch me actually go and attend a virtual conference on Virtual Reality actually in Virtual Reality. It's interesting, so the IEEE Virtual Reality conference, IEEE VR in 2020 it was supposed to be in Atlanta and then it actually had to be moved to online and remote due to COVID-19. This was one of the first conferences that I have attended in this way, and it was very interesting. It's obviously interesting to go to Virtual Reality conference in Virtual Reality, so if any kind of conference is the one that seems to be well equipped for this kind of stuff, at least that's what you all thought, then it's the Virtual Reality conference. I want to say that obviously the organizers did a really good job. It was interesting to see how it was attended, and actually they had way more attendance, at least the numbers than in previous years of this conference. As part of this video, I want to share a little bit my experience of what it was like to attend this conference. I'm going to show you some excerpts of that, and I'm going to reflect a little bit critically on that experience at the end. I basically have a little bit of a diary study year, you can see some sequences that I was recording. Now, keep in mind that I was attending the conference and the way I provide the footage is like as me going to a public event. There are some concerns about filming at venues like this, so I was very careful and I was basically just working with a student of mine, we were going to some parts of this conference, we were going for a walk, did meet some people. I was very careful, I did not include anybody really, but it is an interesting way to actually capture my little trip to IEEE VR conference. It's very important for me, and obviously, there are issues with how this footage was produced and this allows us to actually talk about some of these issues as well. This is like me looking at the website, and then I'm picking an avatar. Now, this is the interesting part, where you address yourself before you go to a conference. In this case, you're actually picking an avatar. I remember I was looking for a very specific avatar. This was one of my first experiences here, going to some of the rooms and exploring essentially in Mozilla Hubs. I chose Mozilla hubs, exploring essentially what the world is like, attending some of the speakers, seeing some friends and colleagues, and then trying to make it up these virtual staircases, that was a little bit of a tricky thing to do. There are some reasons why this menu is designed this way, at least to me, it's funny that even VR, things are not accessible. I tried to make eye contact and hand contact with Blair, who was a friend of mine, that didn't work, and then I met this person here and we kind of shook hands in VR, and that was a very interesting experience, it's kind of meeting people. I was starting to get the sense for the program, what kind of sessions are on. Somebody from the community actually contributed the screenshots and put them in VR, bad design if you know what I mean. This is something I'll bring back as a negative example in the Design Oriented course, course two, and then me picking a venue, actually a room. That's fun here. You have to still find your room even in Virtual Reality as you're going through these conferences in Virtual Reality. You would think that should be straightforward, all we need is a menu, but this menu is obviously significant. Please be aware that visitors in Hubs Lobby can be anywhere in the room without being seen by you. That is an important knowledge there, and then also they had some instructions around recording. What I was trying to do here is going actually to a coffee break, having a little bit of an interaction with some of the people there. I thought that was interesting I was trying to make a joke around tea and coffee, and then I was reading my student Shwetha and we actually had quite a bit of fun. We were exploring a few things together here, I'll share a few moments. For example, we were looking at posters, and I was trying to find her. In fact, I was actually occupying the same space as her, that was really weird and couldn't see her, that never happens usually. There was flying around a little bit, these are things you can do in Virtual Reality. I was trying to get a different perspective on things. This was an interesting moment because Shwetha was like getting embarrassed for what I was doing, just like when we would go to rear conference, I'm the kid in the room kind of thing. I was playing around with some of the tools we have in VR, we have a laser pointer here. I saw other students present some posters to me, that was really cool, they make good use of these tools, so I wanted to try it out myself. Then we were going a little bit on on a walk, I thought that was interesting, so I was trying. I think we had some audio issues here. Shwetha couldn't hear me. This is funny because these basic issues happen all the time and then we figured it out finally. This was me attending entropy IEEE VR in VR, some excerpts, some sequences from some of the recordings. I have actually attended over multiple days, which was interesting, getting up, dressing up, looking professional and both in VR and then also in real life because I was treating it as a job. I thought I wanted to record that experience a little bit for my students so that they know what it might be like to go to a Virtual Conference. This was probably a little bit special because it's the virtual conference about Virtual Reality, so it was interesting. When I compare the experience, the things that I'm usually excited about, which is meeting people at conferences, or seeing friends, This was, to be fair, a conference that I don't usually attend. I didn't know quite a few people and I connected with some of them. It was an interesting setup. There was a Slack, like chat thing in parallel to some of the sessions. You could obviously then watch the sessions in Mozilla Hubs where you saw all the footage. But you could also just go to the Twitch stream. It was just live stream to Twitch and YouTube I think. Multiple different ways of actually accessing this conference, which I think the organizers did a really great job. But then really then divided attention between some of these channels and created some issues. When I met people, they weren't always using VR headsets, for example, which is fine. But some people had issues with muting their microphones so you could hear everything, some people were speaking very loud, and so that was interesting, just like in the real world, I guess. In many ways, this virtual reality experience recreated a lot of the issues we have when we go to a normal physical conference. You might say it was actually close to the real thing. It's a lot of people aim for that in virtual reality, making it like a reality. I did meet a few people. It was interesting. The encounters were different definitely. I didn't necessarily see, I couldn't get a face. I just saw an avatar. It was interesting. I went to this meet up group, that was cool. Met a few people from Europe. Did not include that footage because it was obviously private. Had discussion and nobody was aware of that, so I did not include that. The coffee breaks were freestyle and I asked and announced whether it's okay. That's okay. Obviously, my whole experience is interesting both from the impact of COVID-19, the use of XR technologies, and then also attending a conference remotely. The fact that there is now footage about this. When I go to a conference, I take photos all the time, I take videos, I have some friends and colleagues smile in there, look at interesting sites. I was treating a little bit that VR, virtual reality in VR experience the same way. But we don't actually know exactly did now do something that is okay or not. I was again, careful with some of the footage. This is actually really good for us because we can talk about some of the issues. I touched a little bit on accessibility. I touched a little bit on equity, like having access to these devices. The software they chose, and all the channels they provided allowed a lot of people to participate. Accessibility is and was still an issue and in many ways wasn't fully solved. But credits to the organizers, this is still really well done. Privacy and security, there were a couple of warning signs here and there, but I don't know what other people did, how they recorded, how they participated, and who they were. Then on the social and ethics side, obviously, it was very interesting, very different behaviors in VR. It's not like really meeting people in the real world. In many ways, that design of that whole conference venue was stupid. Why did we go in VR? The talks were actually the most boring part of the conference because everybody is just staring at this huge screen. I wonder whether people just took off their headset or never got one to begin with to attend to talk. However, posters were some of the most amazing content in this conference. Now in the real conference, I do enjoy talking to students a lot. I like it when I see other professors also talk to students and go to the posters. But unfortunately in the real conference experience, posters are usually placed in some very bad location where nobody, unfortunately nobody actually finds them. Actually, posters are often by early PhD students and younger researchers, and so they should be promoted. They will be the new of researchers in our community. For me, it was very exciting to see how VR actually had an impact in the sense that it made that very cool. The talks, a few people made some better use of VR and actually had some slides in VR and gave some demos in VR. But really the posters did the trick for me. What I also like was a little bit of fun venues. Eventually, I went on a walk together, I thought was a cool idea doing that in VR, racing each other a little bit. So it did have some fun components, and it raises lots of issues though. Those are the ones that we're going to explore more. COVID-19 did definitely had an impact on a lot of the research community obviously, a lot of professional work and most likely also use or it's not the main issue I want to talk about here, but it's just interesting because a lot of people now think there was an extra hype around XR just coming out of it. In total, what do I think of that experience? Well, I think the organizers did a really good job. Overall, don't think that it was the same experience that had the same effect on me and the same quality. It was in fact very difficult to integrate it with my a real life going on in the real world because it happens in parallel. To this virtual conference, getting have different time zone a little bit, and actually that was not so much the deal here. But I could imagine for some of the other conferences that I am going to attend remotely, it's going to be challenging. In any case, I think that gives us lots to talk about and this is where I want to end.