Challenges Using Head-Mounted Displays in Shared and Social Spaces

What are the effects of using HMDs in public?
How might we design HMDs to be used in public?
What will make an HMD socialy acceptable?

Everyday mobile usage of AR and VR Head-Mounted Displays (HMDs) is becoming a feasible consumer reality. The current research agenda for HMDs has a strong focus on technological impediments (e.g. latency, field of view, locomotion, tracking, input) as well as perceptual aspect (e.g. distance compression, vergence-accomodation ). However, this ignores significant challenges in the usage and acceptability of HMDs in shared, social and public spaces. This workshop will explore these key challenges of HMD usage in shared, social contexts; methods for tackling the virtual isolation of the VR/AR user and the exclusion of collocated others; the design of shared experiences in shared spaces; and the ethical implications of appropriating the environment and those within it. Attendees will share experiences of using HMDs in public environments and discuss the new problem space with the aim of defining new research priorities in the community.
After the official part, all Attendees are invited to participate in a field trip to experience and discuss the use of HMDs in public places (subway, coffee, etc.). The organizers of the workshop will provide hardware and material.

Workshop Date and Location

Date: 05 May 2019 Time: 08:00 - 14:00
CHI 2019 conference rooms TBA

Call for Participation

Everyday mobile usage of Head-Mounted Displays (AR and VR) is becoming a feasible consumer reality. The current research agenda for these devices has a strong focus on technological impediments (e.g. locomotion, tracking, input devices). This ignores significant challenges in the usage and perception of HMDs in shared and social spaces where HMD users are co-located with non-HMD users and are likely to be observed while interacting. We invite academics, artists, designers and practitioners to create a common understanding of upcoming challenges and derive a research agenda for this new topic. In this CHI 2019 workshop we offer a basis for exchange between different disciplines to promote the development of new concepts and ideas to make HMDs successful in public.

*** Important Dates ***
Submission Deadline: February 1st, 2019
Notification: February 28th, 2019
Workshop Date: May 05th, 2019 (08:00 - 14:00)
Submission via Easy Chair

We invite submissions of position papers: 4 pages in SIGCHI Extended Abstract format (references excluded) of work within the scope of challenges and opportunities for HMDs in shared and social spaces. Each participant will have 5 minutes for a oral presentation of his/her work.
Relevent topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Social Acceptability of HMD Usage
  • Tackling Isolation and Exclusion
  • Shared Experiences in Shared Spaces
  • Ethical Implications of Public Mixed Reality
Participants will be selected according to the suitability of their research to contribute to the workshop outcome or the relevance of their workshop position paper. Please note that at least one author of each accepted position paper must attend the workshop. All workshop participants must register for both the workshop and for at least one day of the conference. For more information and submitting your contributions, please visit:

Workshop Program

The workshop will be held from 9.00-14.00. We will have two keynotes and two slots for talks, followed by a discussion round (details below). We invite all participants to join us after the official program at a self-organized field trip to experience the usage of HMDs in Glasgow's inner city.

*** Detailed Programm ***
8:00 - 9:00 Coffee Break (Early Bird GetTogether)
9:00 - 9:30 Introduction and Welcome

09:30 - 10:30


Ken Perlin
Frank Steinicke

10:30 - 10:45 Coffee Break
10:45 – 12:15

Lightning talks


12:15 - 12:30 Coffee Break
12:30 - 14:00

Discussion/Group Work


Unofficial Part:
After the official workshop, there will be a voluntary/optional half-day activity looking at public/social use of HMDs in the wild. This part is not affiliated with CHI and attendees take part on their own responsibility, with all attendees invited to join. We would strongly encourage all participants to consider their availability for this part of the day prior to submission.

14:00 - 15:00 Lunch

15:00 - 17:00

Field Trip

Explore Public/Social Scenario + Record observations + Prepare 10 Minute Result Presentation

17:00 - 18:00

Groupwork and Discussion of Experience

Explore Public/Social Scenario + Record observations + Prepare 10 Minute Result Presentation (Location TBA)

18:00 - Dinner


Jan Gugenheimer

Jan Gugenheimer is a research associate at Ulm University working in the fields of mobile/nomadic virtual reality and asymmetric co-located interaction for VR HMDs. His research explores how HMDs can be designed to be more inclusive for non-HMD users and enable the HMD user to break out of the isolation the technology is currently imposing.

Christian Mai

Christian Mai is a research associate from the LMU Munich. In his work he addresses the challenges appearing with the introduction of fully immersive HMDs into everyday contexts. The goal of his work is to understand the problemspace arising and offer solutions suitable for everyday use.

Mark McGill

Mark McGill is a research associate in the School of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow. His research has explored augmented virtuality, shared at-a-distance VR experiences, VR locomotion and passenger usage of VR/AR headsets in-transit, with an emphasis on overcoming the key usability impediments.

Julie R. Williamson

Julie Williamson is a lecturer in human computer interaction in the School of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow. Her research focuses on interaction in public spaces, including non-planar displays, virtual reality, and tangible interfaces. She is an expert in public evaluation and research on social acceptability of novel technologies.

Frank Steinicke

Frank Steinicke is a professor for Human-Computer Interaction at the Department of Informatics at the University of Hamburg. His research is driven by understanding the human perceptual, cognitive and motor abilities and limitations in order to reform the interaction as well as the experience in computer-mediated realities.

Ken Perlin

Ken Perlin is a professor in the Department of Computer Science at New York University, where he directs the Future Reality Lab. His research interests include socially shared virtual and augmented reality, computer graphics and animation, user interfaces and education. He is hoping to help build a better world where our computer-augmented interactions will be more like Harry Potter meets Harold and the Purple Crayon.


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