Several years ago, Lucas, 24, moved to New York City to study fashion design at the Pratt Institute. He’s finally finished school and has begun working as an associate designer at a small but innovative studio. He doesn’t make anywhere near the salary he’d need to afford his dream loft in Chelsea, but he’s got a nice room (with roommates) in Bed-Stuy, which is a neighbourhood just south of Williamsburg. He gets into the city without too much trouble on the subway or when the weather's nice on a citibike over the bridge. He’s been at his new job for only a couple of months and was just starting an exciting project when everything changed.
It was March 2020 when COVID-19 stopped the world in its tracks. And New York City came to a standstill when the first wave hit. ‘Stay-in-place’ orders and government mandates meant that every office and workplace had to close. Luc was beset with frustration; he was finally breaking into the industry and now his work has had to move completely to ‘work from home’, he just knows that he’ll probably be lumped in with some forgotten interns and just fade from memory. What a sad end to a career that never even had a fair chance to get off the ground.
He needs an alternative and he realizes that the solution might lay in the type of work that he’s doing. He’s just been assigned to work on a new line that leverages image marker technology–a cross-platform textile wearable that’s compatible with the latest XR headsets and AR features from social platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. He’s got an idea; he knows of a few colleagues in his studio who have been working remotely and ‘beaming-in.’ They’re using the same collaborative mixed reality design and development software suite that he’s already working with at the studio. Beaming-in sounds like a much better alternative to endless zoom calls and the monotony that months of stay-at-home orders would bring.
There’s one problem though, Lucas shares a small, 3 bedroom walk-up apartment with three roommates — simply put, space is at a premium. To work from home in mixed reality, he needs to have enough ‘play space.’ Playspace is a term virtual reality enthusiasts use to describe the open floor space they designate for VR activities. The minimum space needed for more active, non-stationary work is 6ft x 6ft square. He needs to have at least that and ideally more to make this situation work. His room is 10ft x 14ft and crammed with all his worldly possessions.
It’s immediately apparent to Lucas that there’s not going to be enough space. He only has a narrow pathway between his wardrobe, a scrappy desk he found at the side of the road, and his twin mattress. Some things are going to have to go for this to work, and he immediately starts to draw up a plan.
He’ll need to get rid of some clothing, which will allow him to ditch the wardrobe and fit everything into his closet. This is difficult for him because of his passion for clothing but he figures that from now on, half his clothes can be virtual right? Next, a standing desk makes more sense in XR anyways. Maybe something that’s mounted to the wall. Lastly, he’ll need to deal with his bed. He checks online and buys a murphy frame for his mattress from Amazon prime; it arrives within 8 hours from when he orders it and after half day of installation, Luc gets the pleasure of making his whole room disappear in 5 seconds. The bed tucks away during the day, folding up into the wall, and comes down at night.
As a finishing touch, he paints the walls a vibrant green. The green will allow for chroma key videography, perfect for documentation of his process and great content for his YouTube channel. At the end of his first day of remote working, he looks around and realizes he’s done it; he’s transformed his small Bed Stuy bedroom into a 10ft x 14ft holodeck — this is going to be so much fun.