Building Bridges between People and Content through Empathy

Journey to Home - 360° Video Mixed Reality Experience



Is it possible to enhance empathy to the content we consume? More so in delicate issues like migration from warzones like in Syria


Reported increase in empathy. From survey results, users felt as if they could understand how the refugees feel in a stronger way than conventional medium of content sharing


This project aims to raise awareness about the refugee problem and the damages caused by war in Syria through a storytelling experience supported by mixed reality. The idea emerged by experience of one of my friends in the project team who had worked with an NGO supporting settlement of refugees in Greece. He had found that a lot of people listen to the news but news is unable to create that sense of feeling which the refugees have suffered during their journey. There have been attempts by news channels to do VR reality reporting. This is taking the same concept to apply in an exhibition environment.

This project features two AR and VR experiences, an acoustic and a tangible experience designed to immerse people in the difficult journey of the family through the power of storytelling.


We came up with an artistic installation with 4 parts which we call “Experiences” and was premiered in January 2018 in Orsay, Paris, within the HCI Masters Project Exhibition.

Chapter 1 - How their home was destroyed and the journey to Greece [AR & VR]

We created an Android AR/VR application where the people are invited to enter the family’s home (AR part) and then they are immersed in a 360° VR view of the house. We set up wooden blocks representing their house over which a marker was placed which would augment a door lock through people could enter inside the house.

Chapter 2 - Tangible and Acoustic experience on the war and the chaos [Tangible Interaction]

We experimented with sound and speech. We designed an experience where users are invited to close their eyes, put headphones on and explore with their hands a container full of sand and rocks. This container represented the desert land that the family had to pass through for so many days.

Chapter 3 - Arrival in Greece and the challenges faced [AR & VR]

A similar exprience like Chapter 1 where people could interact with an augmented virtual button to enter the door and swa how the family settled in Greece.

Chapter 4 - Najeeb’s photo journey notebook [Tangible]

No computer interaction but rather a focus on summarising the story of the young kid by a physical photoalbum


We performed a short questionnaire as part of the project with each participant at the end of the exhibition.


Overall, people at the exhibition had a positive view of the installation. One can see the results for different survey questions at the below link. We included questions such as "Did you find the story compelling which made you feel the struggles of the family?" and "Do you think interacting with the sand in Part 2 enhanced your experience of the story?" and more.

Full report can be accessed here at "Journey to Home"

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