About project

Period: February – November 2015

Client: Eindhoven University of Technology

Subject: A Breathtaking Journey


“A Breathtaking Journey” places the player in the shoes of a refugee who is fleeing from a war-torn country in his/her struggle to escape the increasing violence.

Throughout the experience, the player is subjected to a series of uncomfortable events, representing a glimpse of the stressful journey to reach a safe haven.  Through the physical recreation of a lorry, and by incorporating breath control and scent feedback, the player is bound for a full-embodied experience to see the refugee crisis through the senses of someone who left everything behind in search of a better future.

A virtual reality game (or augmented virtuality game to be more correct) developed to research the influence of multi-sensory experiences on presence, empathy and ultimately on attitude change. Throughout the experience the player can one-on-one touch the environment and its materials, feel the truck shaking and experience the tactility of falling objects, smell particular scents, and use their own breath to determine whether one will get caught or not.

Can you avoid detection?


The project started off as my graduation project, this first version included the following elements

  • VR simulation of a refugee journey
  • Wooden recreation of a lorry to match haptic feedback and feel of materials with digital simulation
  • Temperature and airflow sensor to measure breathing and use it as a control mechanism for the experience
  • Fan to simulate airflow inside the lorry

    In collaboration with Martijn Kors (Eindhoven University of Technology) we created a second version of the installations and made the following additions/edits:
  • Created a new storyline
  • Further developed virtual environment
  • Added scent to the experience requiring us to create a custom printed circuit board (PCB) and 3D printed mask
  • Added an unbalance motor and suspension to the installation to simulate the haptics of driving in sync with the virtual environment
  • We wrote a peer-reviewed article that was presented at CHI PLAY 2016