Safe Break : The Virtual “Third Place”

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“Safe Break” is an interactive experience for people with sensory sensitivity to escape to a virtual “third place” when the outside world is overwhelming. Inspired by VR experiences that emulate the autistic experience and taking cues from VR Chat and Mozilla Hub, “Safe Break,” when adaptable by its users, can provide sanctuary and a sense of belonging to those who find it difficult to acclimate to visual and auditory overstimulation. A virtual third place like “Safe Break” can be beneficial to young adults in fostering real world social engagement and can be useful when in accordance with occupational therapy and Ayres Sensory Integration (ASI) intervention to help develop better coping strategies. This fully mobile demo can transport players to a virtual coffee shop—a typical example of a “third place,” social spaces between the home and the workplace—where the skybox outside the shop and the environment inside can be tailored to the user’s desired comfort level. In addition, relaxing environment sounds can be customized to a player’s desired volume. The user interface is designed to accommodate individuals with varying degrees of ASD functionality. Immersion, Presence, and Narrative Theory were considered in developing a convincing environment separate from reality.







Art + Design