The Power of Wearing an HMD – Mindtrek 2016


Last Monday, Diana, one of Slant’s co-founders, presented her paper on the impact of watching a 360º video with a head-mounted display (HMD) regarding people’s attitude and behavior at Mindtrek Conference in Tampere, Finland.

On her research, Diana tested whether visualizing a 360º video with a HMD (immersive video) could influence the viewer’s attitude and behavior. Could it actually change our minds towards a certain topic? The results show that, in fact, watching an emotional 360º video wearing a headset has a significant impact in influencing the viewer’s attitude than watching the same video on a screen. The high immersion provided by the HMD increases the viewer’s emotional impact, working as an emotion magnifier. Thus, an immersive video is more effective than a low immersive medium (e.g. tablet screen) in influencing our minds.

Immersive (360º) videos and the future

With the rise of Virtual Reality (VR) industry and the increasing accessibility of VR technology to the average consumer, it’s very likely that these goggles (HMDs) will become a part of our household, making immersive videos available to a wider audience. It’s uncertain, however, where this medium will be used in the future and with what intent. Nonetheless, the implications of the above results for society, in general, are immense. For instance, it raises questions on whether immersive videos can be used in social sciences to fight misogyny, homophobia, racism, etc. 

Despite all uncertainties, what is clear is that these videos can be a great communication tool for reaching and enhancing people’s emotions.

What is Mindtrek?

Mindtrek is a yearly conference that, for the past 20 years, has brought together companies, public organizations, associations and academics, with the aim of sharing knowledge within technology and innovation, and facilitating future business challenges and opportunities.

This year, Mindtrek ran from 17th-19th of October and focused on the topics of Immersion, Internet of Things (IoT), Academic and Open Source World, and Smart Cities. It was attended by around 1000 people from over 40 countries, and counted with the participation of more than 50 speakers and 70 sessions.