What if Cerebro were a browser?

With the power to amplify brainwaves, Cerebro connects its users to the entire planet and all of its sentient beings. To what extent can we mimic this functionality for use in connecting more deeply with our cultural heritage?

Inspired by Cerebro, I created a paper prototype of a virtual reality browser that visualizes a historical newspaper database belonging to the Impresso project. I showcased the prototype as a part of Dr. Carine Lallemand’s UX methods course.

VR Paper Prototyping in the Unilux User Lab
VR Paper Prototyping in the Unilux User Lab

Using white boards, I was able to simulate the experience of being surrounded by a sphere of knowledge. The boards contained rows of sticky notes that each represented different newspapers, and test users were outfitted with paper VR headsets and controllers. Although it was a very basic prototype, it provided useful insight on the challenges of navigating archives in 3D space.

The Impresso project has adopted IIIF to support image interoperability and high-res access to newspaper scans, allowing me to rebuild the same prototype in virtual reality using A-Frame and an HTC Vive. I had the amazing opportunity to unveil it for user testing during an Impresso project workshop at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne. Below is a short video of some of its early functionality.