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VRViewfinder - Engaging bystanders in VR-based Interactive Media Using Auxiliary Viewing Devices

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Virtual Reality (VR) has been shown to be beneficial in many fields; from interactive games to educational tools to an artistic medium. However, sharing VR creations and experiences in a social or collaborative setting (e.g., exhibitions, public demos, social gathering) becomes an essential and challenging concern. Bystanders - people who are not wearing VR head-mounted devices(HMD) in the physical reality - will neither be able to partake nor understand what a VR user is experiencing. Therefore, VR-based interactivity is often a solitary experience, cutting the users off from their physical surroundings, preventing them from interacting with people in the physical world, and keeping bystanders from sharing the VR content. One of the potential solutions is to allow all the bystanders to wear VR headsets. But VR headsets are still not inclusive, as many people are not able to wear them. For example, VR headsets tend to create cybersickness, which discourages many users from wearing them. Also, the use of VR headsets for children has elicited concern that exposure may damage their vision. Lastly, there exists a certain population for whom wearing a headset is not convenient; those who have thick hair texture, are afraid of messing up their hairstyle or make-up, or wear prescription glasses. As an alternative, a secondary computer monitor is often used to mirror what the VR user sees at the moment, mirroring the VR head-mounted device(HMD) user’s egocentric view. However, the lack of agency and controllability of POV for bystanders makes it challenging to understand what is happening in virtual reality. In addition, POV on a secondary display is often limited for peripheral visions, making the 2D screen viewers have a less immersive experience. Furthermore, the first-person perspective of the 3D environment on a 2D screen may cause motion sickness. Research has been done to introduce a more inclusive collective VR experience. For example, Motion-tracked secondary monitors to allow non-HMD users to see monoscopic VR, shared with the HMD users. The work shows the potential of non-HMD mobile devices as a more inclusive medium towards immersion. In our project, we are investigating the use of non-HMD mobile devices for sharing VR experience with HMD users. We aim to measure usability, presence, social presence, and situation awareness to show that the inclusive VR experience can still be effective for immersive experiences for non-HMD users. We anticipate that the use of non-HMD systems will make the immersive experience more inclusive for people who are not comfortable using VR headsets.

Exemplary project

Exemplary project winner


  • Md Tahsin Tausif
  • Myounghoon Jeon


Virginia Tech


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