Educational Tools for Design

  • Hardware Used:

    • Z-Space Virtual and Augmented Reality monitor

    • HTC VIVE Pro

    • Meta 2 Holographic Headset

  • Sofware Used:

    • 3ds max for 3D modeling

    • Unity and C# For scripting, interaction and hardware integration


The 9-Cube VR and Cube AR projects take advantage of the traditional pedagogical strategies of iteration and exploration taught in design and architecture for decades. By exploiting the affordances that AR and VR provide, we create a set of tools that aim to improve student's abstract-composition skills.

Related Publication:

Hopfenblatt, J., & Balakrishnan, B. (2018). The "Nine-Square Grid" Revisited: 9-Cube VR, An Exploratory Virtual Reality Instruction Tool for Foundation Studios, in Proceedings of the annual conference of Computer Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia, pp. 463-471

Part 1: 9-CubeVR Grid

9-CubeVR Grid Splash Screen

User Interface and Functionality

Student Design using the tool

User Interface and Functionality

User Interface Demo Video

1:1 Scale VR interaction Video demo

The project evolved from an earlier collaboration with the art department which explored the application of drawing and abstraction into the context of VR. I programmed and designed the user interface as well as presented the project at the CAADRIA conference in 2018 in Beijing, China.

Part 2: Cube AR

9-Cube AR consists of the precursor to the 9-Cube VR project. In the original exercise in abstraction, students would take a 3" x 3" x 3" composition and later design a larger 9" x 9" x 9" abstract composition via transformation and translations. In this project, students utilize AR to design a small composition which the will later transform to a larger composition.

The AR User Interface

Early Iteration of Cube-AR project testing User Interface and Solid/Void Modeling and model scaling