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A digital design tool simulating craft know-how in virtual reality

Apprenticeship 2.0

Virtual maker space simulates passage of time
Bolor Amgalan

Apprenticeship 2.0 is an immersive VR experience and a digital design tool that uses particle-based simulated yarns with realistic material properties. Enabling a new form of craft preservation practice, the project provokes discussion about human-machine symbiosis in the 21st century.

Today it is more important than ever to take pride in human abilities and direct inevitable technological change to support human creativity and craftsmanship. As VR/AR/XR technologies take center stage, innovative approaches to creating true sense of embodiment in virtual experiences need to be embraced. Set against this backdrop, Apprenticeship 2.0 materializes as an immersive VR experience and a digital design tool to propose a new form of craft apprenticeship. Using particle-based simulated yarns with realistic material properties, the system simulates material know-how and the passage of time in a virtual makerspace. The virtual yarns react to gravity, stretch, wrap and deform based on how the apprentice's hands, tracked with depth sensors, manipulate them. Capturing both the perfections and imperfections resulting from the human hands, the project places Homo faber – man as the maker – at the heart of human becoming, to:

1. instill in them intrinsic values attained through craftsmanship – the enduring commitment and desire to do a job well for its own sake;

2. demonstrate the possibilities of human-machine symbiosis;

3. and provoke discussion about craft preservation.

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Bolor Amgalan

Bolor Amgalan is an interaction designer/researcher and a fashion design technologist teaching at Parsons School of Design. Trained as a zero-waste fashion designer, Bolor developed her practice further at Central Saint Martins using speculative design narratives, and yet further at Parsons using computation. She programs hybrid materials that belong to both the digital and analog realms and occupy the space at the intersection of craft values, tangible interface design and embodied interaction.