April 2019

April 2019

The Emerging Media BC Community of Practice is a community of experts and professionals from academic institutions, industry and community groups, as well as others whose work and interests are related to immersive media and emerging technologies.

The April 2019 meeting will be hosted at the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) at the SFU Surrey campus. The theme of this meeting is “VR 4Good”, based on the 4Good projects of the students at SIAT, with a focus on the benefits of facilitating such VR projects.  Several of the VR4Good projects that were made during the Semester in Alternate Realities intensive (15 credit) course on the SFU surrey campus will be presented

These works were created by students from different SFU departments who joined our Semester in Alternate Realities. The works are part of an emerging field of development and research that use VR and other emerging technologies to increase awareness and be a catalyst for improving our world.

These projects are the culmination of 14 weeks of an intense, iterative, agile, reflective and adaptive teaching and learning process. Four distinct yet interconnected “for good” Virtual Reality experiences focused on themes related to improving the social and environmental condition, by not only drawing awareness to issues in the world that require our attention, but also providing unique first-person experiences that we could not have without immersive technology.


1. Student presentations from the semester in Alternate Realities course: VR4Good in the classroom – from the students’ perspective

2. Bernhard Riecke (lead) and Patrick Pennefather (interruptions): VR4Good in the classroom – from the instructor’s perspective

Bernhard Riecke

Associate Professor and directs the iSpace Lab at SFU’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) where he directs the iSpace Lab. He likes to go beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries, combining natural sciences approaches (being a physicist by training) with human-centered and creative approaches (drawing from Psychology, Cognitive Science, Meditation, HCI, Design, and Art) using xR and in particular immersive Virtual Reality. After researching for a decade in the Virtual Reality Group of the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany and working as a post-doctoral researcher at Vanderbilt University and UC Santa Barbara, Bernhard joined SFU in 2008.

Starting off researching how we orient and move through real and virtual space, he is increasingly interested in exploring how we could utilize the potential of multi-sensory media like Virtual/Augmented Reality to foster meaningful or even pivotal experiences and profound emotional shifts that we might otherwise never be able to experience.

Together with Patrick Pennefather he designed and is currently teaching the first-ever Semester in Alternate Realities intensive (15 credit) course on the SFU surrey campus.

Dr. Patrick Pennefather

Patrick, recently appointed at UBC’s Theatre & Film program in Production and Design and Faculty in Residence at Emerging Media Lab, is passionate about bridging partnerships between various stakeholders in the academic, cultural, service and digital media industries. He has facilitated and organized numerous outcome-driven workshops in the resource, entertainment and educational sectors and at conferences like CVR, SXSW, GDC, SIGGRAPH and IndieCade.

He’s developed a successful rapid prototyping methodology focused on mentoring teams co-constructing scalable digital prototypes with over 45 companies and organizations (Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft, Blackbird, Finger Foods, Kabam and more) over the past ten years with sessions focused on aligning priorities, research initiatives, vision, strategy, problem-solving and scalability. Institutionally, he has designed and implemented learning with the Master of Digital Media Program, BCIT, Ryerson University, University of Wuhan, Chinese University of Communication, North Chinese University of Technology, UBC and SFU. Within the digital media industry he has facilitated small teams internationally, with Riot Games, EA, Microsoft Big Park, Fujitsu, Procon Mining Safety, Crystal CG China, the City of Fukuoka, NGX, Ballet BC, British Columbia Museum Association, Arts Club Theatre, and British Columbia Lottery Corporation.

His research interests and scholarly activities are focused on rapid prototyping for mixed realities as well as designing spatial audio in physical and virtual environments. His research creations in the area of sound design and composition include live and mediated productions with a portfolio of over 250 productions in Canada, the U.S., Europe and Asia where he has generated multiple nominations and awards.

3. Networking and Demos of 4Good Projects

For any questions, please contact:

Jin Li, EML Student Coordinator


(604) 822-6834