Design School Interview #2: Interaction Design Degree

By Charles
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This second episode is an interview with Grégoire Cliquet, the course leader for Interaction Design at the Nantes Atlantique School of Design. After the student, the master speaks…

Grégoire, could you please introduce yourself?

I teach Real-time Interactive 3D  at the Ecole de Design Nantes Atlantique and for 7 years have been in charge of the school’s Interaction Design cursus.  Soon I will become the head of the “READI” laboratory for applied experimental research in interaction design at the school.

What is “Interaction Design” and what do you teach your students?

The five-year Masters cursus is divided into two cycles.

The first cycle is an undergraduate program that teaches the fundamentals of interaction design. It aims at developing our students’ creativity. It also helps them develop techniques related to graphical representation (2D/3D), computing skills through learning Web Standards (XHTML/CSS/JS/PHP), and software such as Proce55ing, Flash/Flex and 3DVIA Virtools.

We also teach students how to manage from start to finish interaction design projects by involving them in real projects with IT companies. They practice the design process under real conditions, from understanding the demand and generating creative concepts, to making functional prototypes that embody design concepts.

The second cycle of the program is divided into seven areas dealing with contemporary social and economic issues. I will cite just two of them:

  • “Tangible Interfaces” centers on new interaction modes  with information systems, ambient intelligence and ubiquitous computing.
  • “Virtual Reality” is about designing innovative virtual and augmented reality interfaces and services.

What profile should a student have to enter this school?

The prerequisite to our design curriculum is a baccalaureate (French equivalent to A-levels or high school diploma) and applicants have to pass writing and creativity tests, followed by an individual interview to assess their motivation.

Can you describe the typical or atypical career of graduates from your school?   

Many interaction students now hold a position in the research and development departments of various companies. For example:

  • Frantz Lasorne works on new means of interaction for Ubisoft.
  • Nicolas Guyon works for Lego on “new gaming” projects.
  • Pierrick Thebault is finishing a thesis for Bell Labs.

About 90 percent of our students get jobs during the first month following their diploma.

Why did you choose 3DVIA Virtools to develop virtual projects?

Virtools covers a wide range of needs from virtual reality (immersive environments), games and real time 3D applications to augmented and mixed reality projects. It integrates our software workflow, so students can reuse 3D models they made from 3dsMax.

For designers it offers different levels of programming. Visual Scripting language is designer-friendly and can be learned quickly, making prototyping 3D real-time interactive applications a relatively easy task. Students can therefore concentrate on their imagination and concepts.

What do you think about the future of 3D?

With stereoscopic and auto stereoscopic displays, 3D will become increasingly present in our day-to-day living as 3D images are erasing the borders between reality and virtuality.

Grégoire Cliquet, thank you for answering our questions.

You are welcome!

What do you think?  If you’re a student, does this inspire you on your professional path?

Does anyone have any thoughts as to how the Interaction Design profession will evolve?



Charles Bonnassieux works as Marketing Specialist for Dassault Systèmes

Design School Interview #1: Immersive Rail Shooter Game

By Charles
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To begin this Design School Miniseries, here is an interview of David, a young student and award winner… let’s discover what he has to tell us!

David, could you please introduce yourself?

Hello! My name is David Arenou and I am from Nantes. I study at the School of Design Nantes Atlantique, France. I am currently in my last year of studies and just did a 3D project. At the moment, I am doing my final internship at Alcatel Lucent and then I will graduate. And why not apply for a job at Dassault Systèmes?

Describe your “IMMERSIVE RAIL SHOOTER” project…

IMMERSIVE RAIL SHOOTER is my final School of Design project. What I came up with is a shooting video game. The central idea is that you have to hide to survive.  And to give the game a tangible dimension: you are in your living room or bedroom, where you place a video console, and the immersive rail shooter allows you to bring the belongings you have around you (chair, sofa, table, any object that you could use to hide behind), into direct interaction in the video game. You use these physical elements as real hiding tools. The only other thing you need is a camera for you to be detectable, and a fake gun or remote control to track your movement.

What is it about your game that really offers something new to a potential user?

The main evolution introduced in the game is related to the physical immersion aspect: you are completely in the game, with your body and your thoughts, and this is the huge difference with other projects. The game is a success when you forget that you are only in your room.

But how do you use the game?

You just put a chair in front of your body, and you imagine your body is in the virtual world; as I said before, you forget where you are.  You are in another world, you feel immersed.

Why did you choose 3DVIA Virtools to develop this project?

I chose 3DVIA for three reasons: first, because I learned 3DVIA Virtools in my school, so I was used to it and I already knew the software; secondly, 3DVIA enabled me to prototype my ideas very rapidly. Last but not least, I knew I needed a tracking system to detect the player, ARtoolKIT to track big markers. 3DVIA Virtools gave me the answer.  It made it easy and quick to compose and have access to a whole array of different choices and behaviors.

What does your winning Laval Virtual’s First Prize and Prize for the Best Interaction and Programming inspire you for the future?

I took part in the Laval Virtual Conference as a student competitor and I won the Virtual Fantasy Prize. It’s a great honor for me to have won this kind of award and I really want to express my thanks to the jury. This award tells me today: “Ok, David, this project is your thing, keep it up; maybe it will be your way for the future….”

David, thank you for visiting DS Campus and thank you for talking to us.

My pleasure !



Charles Bonnassieux works as Marketing Specialist for Dassault Systèmes

Immersive Virtual Reality and Visual Handicap

By Richard
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Last week, I attended an event at Telecom ParisTech, one of France’s top engineering schools. The event gathered about 30 experts in medicine and engineering for a set of conferences and debates dealing with Smart and  Communicating Devices for Health and Handicap.

Smart Devices can help in several health domains, from remote diagnosis to re-education. Being able to perform remote medecine can be useful in secluded spots such as high-mountain while re-education can take benefit from serious gaming applications.

On another hand, smart devices can help revive classic objects such as a white stick for visually impaired people. Just add an Infra Red scanner or a laser scanner and you get a Smart Electronic White Stick. Usually, you must touch the obstacle with the stick to be able to avoid it, and that way you’re unable to detect obstacles above the ground such as low tree branches. With such scanners and the help of a suitable sound or vibrating alert, visually impaired people can detect and avoid obstacles much sooner and in a much more fluent way. Demo videos are amazing, with people able to detect narrow corridors, the infamous low tree branches or a set of closed columns and avoid them peacefully, nearly as well as a person with unimpaired vision.

Talking about visual handicap and serious games lead me to an application shown on the Arts & Métiers ParisTech booth, another French top school of Engineers. The application, called Sensivise, has been produced thanks in part to our Passion for Innovation Program (hey! what else? ;-))  with 3DVIA Virtools. The goal is very simple: help valid people to understand the drag of visual impairment.

Tubular Vision simulation in the Sensivise application (urban environment)

Tubular Vision simulation in the Sensivise application (urban environment)

People get immersed in an urban or a familiar domestic 3D interactive environment. At first, you navigate with your regular, usual valid sight. Then, a visual impairment is simulated and you must adjust your behavior accordingly.

Today, two simulations are available: the central scotoma and the tubular vision (or tunnel vision, or gun barrel vision), but other ones could be added later.  The names and pictures say enough about each of those visual impairments. You have to make your way in the city with them, cross a street, avoid a car getting out of a car park etc. Back home, you have to go to the kitchen pick up a milk bottle while avoiding the low table in the living room or to have a shower without hitting the bath tub.

Central Scotoma simulation in Sensivise

Central Scotoma simulation in the Sensivise application (domestic environment)

The application shown on Arts & Métiers ParisTech was on a laptop and presents the user with several challenges such as the ones described above. Serious games to help valid people to get in visually impaired people’s shoes, understand their burden and ease life together. When you have gone through this application, maybe you won’t arrange your flat the same way if you happen to live with a visually impaired person.

Though effective on a laptop, Sensivise shows its full power only in its immersive version, as shown in our LIVES (Lifelike Immersive Virtual Experience Space) where you are really immersed in interactive 3D with suitable glasses.

I had several opportunities to show this application in that context, once to a person affected with central scotoma. She told me it was quite realistic, the only glitch being that valid people tend to try and look aside the central macula, which visually impaired people can’t do (the macula “turns” with the eyes). Since then, I always tell people not to do that, but this feedback accounts for the power and relevance of immersive virtual reality.

Sensivise immersive version as shown in DS Campus LIVES

Sensivise immersive version as shown in DS Campus LIVES

A last word: most applications presented at Télécom Paris Tech claimed they used “Virtual Reality”.  Nope.  A plain graphic serious game is not VR, even with nice computer art. Only 3D immersion can do the trick. There’s still a long road ahead, but applications such as Sensivise are showing the way.

Keep 3D-ing!


Richard BreitnerRichard Breitner, Passion for Innovation Program Manager

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