released project | February 2019



project description

A mixed reality experience that explores the connection between buddhism and theoretical physics, as the user walk in the shoes of a deity learning about the world. Including narration cues from a buddhist lama and a physicist, Samten invites us to move away from the mundane perspective we are used to looking at the world, and introduces us to an ethereal perspective, inspired on how a deity would observe our universe.

Buddhism and theoretical physics

Humanity’s progress has long been driven by unanswered questions. Some important questions and long-term MYSTERIES of our existence provided a fertile soil for both science and spirituality to explore. Will scientific knowledge ever be able to explain absolutely everything? DO physics, biology, chemistry, psychology talk about the same phenomena? But then how exactly all these areas of knowledge are connected, considering we all have a shared origin on this universe? Is there anything but empty space between life forms in the dimension we inhabit? If not, what could exist there?

Samten is an abstract contemplative experience, designed to incite CONTEMPLATION on how a new frontiers on theoretical PHYSICS are currently being explored to ANSWER some of the mysteries of our existence. Together with thoughts from a buddhist monk on how our physical universe behave and how these patterns and connections have been long explored by buddhist PHILOSOPHY. By developing this experience we tried to capture a snapshot of the current progress of our societies and share this exciting perspectives on how we can answer these fundamental questions in the future.

Gameplay footage of a maze in space

Gameplay footage of a maze in space

Main features

  • Walk in the shoes of a deity. a true Room scale Mixed reality experience with natural hand and feet tracking associated with external stimuli designed to make you literally feel like you were in the experience.

  • meditate on interesting concepts. Enjoy the experience while listening to audio recordings from stephen hawking’s a brief history of time and live lectures from a brazilian Buddhist lama.

  • Have fun while visiting completely new worlds. The experience contains several fun psychological tricks in which we experiment with our brains sensation and perception patterns, as it is used to process the physical world.

Footage from when the user touches a real stimuli

Footage from when the user touches a real stimuli

technical aspects

THE PROJECT WAS DEVELOPED FOR THE HTC Vive USING UNREAL ENGINE 4.21. After discussing possible themes and desired sensations we wanted to incite on the experience, we started building a script for the overall user experience. We agreed on blindfolding every user as they enter the room with the installation, which allowed us to build a physical “circuit” on the room, with multiple props placed for the user to touch and step on.

Our goal was to developed a mixed reality experience that people could engage with and naturally experience with no learning curve whatsoever. To achieve that, we built a room scale setup for the htc vive by positioning the two htc vive 1.0 lighthouses approximately 5 meters apart from each other, which allowed the user to walk on an area of 12m². We asked people to enter the room bare feet So that they could step on predefined props with different textures such carpet, rubber, foam, artificial grass and a small pool with water. To augment the experience even further, we installed a LEAP MOTION™ CONTROLLER on the HTC Vive so the user would see his or her own hands instead of having to hold external controllers, and also set up one HTC vive tracker on each leg so that the user could also see his or her own feet.

The installation was made available to the general public at our shared workplace and later to invited guests. The initial feedback was overwhelmingly positive as people with any backgrounds could easily interact with virtual reality in a natural way. A few Children who experienced Samten appeared to be satisfied by the fun psychological tricks, clearly enjoying the experience even on a more shallow level, without comprehending the present narrative. Adults therefore were able to have fun and meditate on the concepts presented by the experience.

In january 2019, development began of an early prototype of samten.

In february 2019, Samten was made available to be played by aerolito’s guests on our workspace as an internal testing stage.

In may 2019, brazil’s biggest news media interviewed the Aerolito team at our workplace and recorded a journalist experiencing samten.

Footage on of of many varied interactions

Footage on of of many varied interactions