As a past debate member, I realized the importance of communication and public speaking. Now that we're all online, debate clubs in general have slowed down and people have lost motivation because it simply isn't engaging enough to debate on Zoom. Hence, we created DiscourseVR, a VR application designed to help debaters to be more immersed in the experience while simultaneously getting crucial feedback on their speech.
What it does
There are two main roles that users can take on in DiscourseVR; debaters and spectators. Debaters will be given a topic in the VR world, and have to prepare everything just like a Canadian Parliamentary debate. Spectators on the other hand will be able to watch the debaters and listen to their speeches in real time. They are able to give constructive feedback at exact timestamps.
After the debate, all users are able to see past debates on a web application that takes a recording of the debate and the feedback given by the spectators and interactively displays them. For example, debaters are able to see precise feedback given by users at precise times, and are also able to easily navigate to them.
We also use the Google Cloud API to translate the speech to text, so users can read a transcript of the debate. Lastly, we generate useful analytics for the debaters to help them realize their mistakes and shortcomings, such as repeated words, words per minute, and filler words.
How we built it
Mirror - Networking Disonnance - Networked Sound RockVR - Video Capture Windows Mixed Reality Headsets
building windows virtual reality (for the camera and spectator)
Vuejs 3 + Nuxt Tailwindcss Eslint
Nginx webserver with cloudflare ddos protection Desployed on vps (google cloud and digital ocean) Rsync server
Challenges we ran into
It was difficult trying to integrate the Virtual Reality and web aspect of this project, because they are usually not done together. Moreover, with the time constraints we had, we needed to decide what to give up and what to take into priority (webgl vs deployment and functionality)
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're proud of being able to different paradigms of programming in an efficient and effective manner. Being able to see how web applications influence the hardware aspect of problems really gave us another perspective into the potential of technology.
What we learned
We learnt how important it was to ask for help when we were in trouble - more specifically, looking at documentation and asking for mentor help so that we would be able to implement new technologies that we would not have been able to do under such constraints otherwise.
What's next for DiscourseVR
One of the main issues of VR is accessibility because many non-tech related people would not have access to VR headsets. Hence in the future, we would like to have DiscourseVR have a mode where debaters do not have to use a VR app, but rather they would have an option to a simple Unity 3D app much like VRChat has. In this way, the app would be more accessible to the public allowing for people with a simple computer and keyboard to take part in educational debates with others.