We wanted to run a live A/B test of virtual reality during our presentation to panma using a heart rate monitor to demonstrate physical differences that a user experiences, when immersed in two very different virtual reality applications. We created two apps, one that should be relaxing to a user and one that should be exciting to a user.
- Relaxing VR experience: Bike ride in the countryside - our hypothesis was that the participant's heart rate would remain constant or slow.
- Exciting VR experience: Roller coaster ride - our hypothesis was that the participant's heart rate would climb several times throughout the ride.
We didn't have a chance to do a pre-test to validate our assumptions in advance of the presentation due to some technical difficulties (misplaced heart monitor). Not knowing what the result would was a bit nerve-racking, on the upside it added a bit of drama to the presentation. So in front of the audience - we asked a brave volunteer to sit down in front, and experience both apps while wearing a heart rate monitor.
When he immersed into the bike ride, his heart rate was constant, in-fact it slowed slightly from where it was at the start (he was probably a little bit nervous at first). At one point his heart rate did rise slightly, we knew that was when there was an oncoming car coming around the corner. Next we had him repeat the activity and immerse into the roller coaster ride. His heart rate shot up as he approached the drop. He got pretty excited throughout the experience, as did we. We shared the heart rate live with the audience as he was experiencing it.
Ultimately, the test worked out as we had hoped. I'll publish the heart rate data in an upcoming post.
Test materials: Google Cardboard, 3D Videos, Audio & Headphones, Smartphone, Wahoo Heart Rate Monitor, Wahoo Fitness App, Smartphone Stand, Fan
Watch the demos here
Bike Ride VR Experience
Roller Coaster VR Experience