Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Computer Science


Computer Science


College of Engineering


Zoë Wood

Advisor Department

Computer Science

Advisor College

College of Engineering


Virtual Reality is a technology that has long held society's interest, but has only recently began to reach a critical mass of everyday consumers. The idea of modern VR can be traced back decades, but because of the limitations of the technology (both hardware and software), we are only now exploring its potential. At present, VR can be used for tele-surgery, PTSD therapy, social training, professional meetings, conferences, and much more. It is no longer just an expensive gimmick to go on a momentary field trip; it is a tool, and as with the automobile, personal computer, and smartphone, it will only evolve as more and more adopt and utilize it in various ways. It can provide a three dimensional interface where only two dimensions were previously possible. It can allow us to express ourselves to one another in new ways regardless of the distance between individuals. It has astronomical potential, but with this potential we must first understand what makes it adoptable and attractive to the average consumer.

The interaction with technology is often times the bottleneck through which the public either adopts or abandons that technology. The goal of this project is to explore user immerision and emotion during a VR experience centered around creating a virtual world. We also aimed to explore if the naturality of the user interface had any effect on user experience. Very limited user testing was available, however a small user group conducted in depth testing and feedback. While our sample size is small, the users were able to test the system and show that there is a positive correlation between influence on the virtual environment and a positive user emotional experience (immersion, empowerment, etc.), along with a few unexpected emotions (anxiety). We present the system developed, the user study, and proposed extensions for fruitful directions for this work by which a future project may continue the study.