Visual + Interaction Designer

Optic Fringe

Speculative Design & Storytelling

Optic Fringe


For this speculative design narrative, I explored a (slightly absurd) potential digitally mediated future.

This was a half-semester long project for an art course titled "Digital Worlds," taught by Angela Washko.

The final piece was a speculative design storyboard. As this was an art project that involves research, I was able to present at Carnegie Mellon University's Studio for Creative Inquiry. My research involved logistics of the Virtual Reality, as well as insight into the social, political, and cultural landscape of the future world I fabricated.


The Narrative

In the narrative, instead of taking actual vacations to places, people visit "Optic Fringe," a Virtual Reality Resort. Instead of keys, the resort uses sleeping masks which also function as the virtual reality headset. 

The VR setup is also operated by a haptic feedback suit and feeding tube. Users navigate through the worlds they travel to using voice commands.



Research and Inspiration

I was interested in exploring a possible future of Virtual Reality. For my project, I take a Techno-Pessimistic view towards this technology. Virtual Reality is a transcendent experience, giving people a break while visiting a fictional animated world. In this way, Virtual Reality could be addictive, in a way similar to a drug. I imagine people choosing to become their digital selves as opposed to their actual selves. What becomes a short break becomes an escape from real life.

For my project, I have created a fictional Virtual Reality Company called Optic Fringe. I imagine this taking place in a future that is perhaps 15-20 years ahead of where we are now. The visualized world was inspired by science fiction books, films, and a reading on how to design for emerging technologies. I was also deeply influenced by a class discussion where we talked about things that we fear in the future, such as corporate governments and the preference of Virtual Reality over physical space.


Visual Style Iterations

I explored a few different styles. In the end, what I felt was most fitting for my storyboard was pen drawing with digital overlays.