Romeo & Juliet
in AR

A concept for immersive installation for interactive learning through engagement with augmented reality app, designed for mobile devices.

Focus:
Interactive Learning
Immersive Technology
User Experience
Progressive Storytelling
Augmented Reality
Concept & Ideation
Status:
Work in progress
Concept, Design & Illustrations
by Tatyana Luxembourg

Nowadays 71% of people from 16 to 24 years have smartphones. Most of them are active smartphone users that use these gadgets to enter social platforms, play games, and to connect with friends and relatives. Offering the experience to engage with AR technology using the smartphones they already know and love provides a great opportunity to present new content in a way that is extremely relatable to and highly usable for target audiences.

The goal

Using a multiplicity of interactive technologies, my goal is to explore and develop a new type of active engagement that could help users to effectively and efficiently learn complex content and become educated about the nature and validity of their feelings. I believe that the journey of self-discovery through experiential learning leads to self-awareness, thus creating opportunities to better understand oneself, improve decision making, self-control, tolerance, and empathy.

To achieve this, I would use the concept of a book titled "Romeo and Juliet: The Biochemistry of Love" that I created and published during my studies as a foundation for my exploratory process. Inspired by Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist and human behavior researcher who claimed that she identified a molecule that is responsible for the development of the feeling of love in the human brain, I wanted to discuss the impact that science might have on our perception of feeling romantic love. The book presents the story of Romeo and Juliet as told by William Shakespeare, through the lens of scientific explanation. My story focuses on the journey of young lovers, accompanied by scientific comments that explain the physiological effects during different stages of the story. I chose to not express a certain opinion, but rather leave it to viewers to choose which version of the story they prefer, the modern and scientific or traditionally romantic.

Selected spreads:

Using the idea, I explored in my book I want to merge and evolve between physical and digital worlds. I foresee exploring how digital experience through augmented space extends the boundaries of progressive storytelling and education, placing the user at the center of an experience. I believe that by presenting the Shakespearean classic through a scientific lens and AR technology, I can create The Renaissance of classics in a new age.

Physical space

Explaining abstract content through visual models helps learners to better integrate theoretical material into tangible concepts. I would like to immerse users in the magic of the original story from the 16th century, followed by whimsical illustrations that introduce the world of science. To do that, I gradually omit story heroes with hormones and brain glands, finishing the story in a modern and scientific voice. All images are interconnected and have the same origins in human brain anatomy.

Following the structure of play acts, each component reveals surprising content and a learning opportunity.

I aim to create a series of engaging interactions with less of a cognitive load and more joyful discovery for the users. The visuals presented on the walls are open for interpretation, but the users will be encouraged to learn other layers of the story exposed exclusively through an AR mobile device app.

Through my vision, users will better connect and associate with the scientific side of the story, the same way they would relate to the traditional love story. In the end, I anticipate that the experience inspires each of the participants to think and feel which version of the story they relate to most and why.

Space layout

Since the original story has linear development, I would create a guided experience with a start and end point. The layout of the physical space would resemble a human brain, made up of nine compartments which users will have to discover and navigate in order.

To support the concept of transformation between the traditional story to the contemporary scientific version, I would fill the first compartments with colors and text from the original play. That set-up will require a traditional type of interaction in space, with which many users are familiar. Gradually I will decrease the color volume, change the visual depiction of the characters and replace the play with scientific content.

As users move through the sequence they will be required to interact more with digital content using their mobile devices. The end result will be completely white and textual.

Design solutions

By switching between comedy and tragedy Shakespeare heightened the tension in his poetry. I decided to do that by presenting the two versions of the story in two different font- families. For the classic story, I choose Garamond font, crafted by Claude Garamond in the 16th century. The scientific story is presented with Chambers Sans Pro font by Verena Gerlach, from the Adobe fonts library.

Inspired by layouts of old manuscripts, with small side notes, I will recreate the play, increasing and decreasing fonts sizes, letting the scientific version win over the traditional romantic version. To increase the sense of dynamic transformation, I will use the structure of the biochemistry formula as a reference for layout, where texts blocks constantly move, following an invisible grid of molecular structure. The amount of classic text will diminish toward the end of the story as space is occupied by scientific content.

Digital space

To contrast the magic of the romantic story represented on walls, the visual language of the mobile device app will represent the scientific and analytical approach. It should give a user a feeling of being a researcher, studying live matter through the microscope. In the end, I would like to create a sterile digital space that would help users to feel at ease learning about a complex matter.

Keywords:

Digital
Informative
Dynamic
Minimalistic
Communicative

To develop a design system that would help me to create the right guidance for users, and support the conceptual side of the story, I would like to explore the visual references I’ve collected from medical books. I have already used these symbols in my illustrations as decorative patterns.

Finding these symbols a new and functional purpose would be a great support to the overall concept and cohesive look. The finalized design system could be used as a navigation system in the physical space, directing users through the story.

Learning process

Incorporating interactive learning elements, such as quizzes, would allow the user to advance in their learning of content and actively engage in story development.

Upon accomplishment of the journey, the users will be awarded digital certificates, based on the scores attained during interactive learning.

The proposed three levels of graduation are subject to change in definition and will be refined during the development process. These levels are:

Expert:

Leading expert on the Biochemistry of Love

Intermediate:

Anthropologist in the field of Biochemistry of Love

Basic:

Intern at the faculty of Biochemistry of Love

Audience

People of all genders, 14-120.

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