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I love when you make something
that you can't really predict or expect.
And that's sort of what this is.
So blue is like one of my favorite colors.
So I just use it in everything.
And then the magic ingredient is here, silicone oil.
(gentle music)
It's pouring. Okay yeah you can--
No, it's fine, I like it.
When I'm in the lab, I am going
because I need to be inspired.
Whereas when I'm here,
it's definitely like a much more quiet, reflective time.
Like if I'm working here, I'm usually writing.
So I'm very much like a,
my space dictates what work I'm doing
and how I feel about it.
I love women and I love being in spaces
where women feel empowered.
And my work is about women.
My thesis has a name, and the name is Allo-I,
which stands for Allo Imaginations.
Allo meaning other or alternative.
I'm from Kenya, I'm from Nairobi.
And I work a lot in the slums.
I've worked there for like six years,
specifically with women and the girl child.
And I knew that I wanted my research
to sort of interact with this demographic.
And the question that kept coming up for me
was sort of how do we imagine our futures?
And so I sort of designed
a pretty funky study in Nairobi,
and I wanted to see
can certain immersive experiences
lead to different language ideas about our future?
So how do women in informal settlements
interact with novel technologies like VR,
and how does that affect language
and how they think about their future
or imagine their futures afterwards?
When we're in VR, our brains act as if
we are still in the real world.
If you're wearing a headset
and you think something is coming for you,
you're still gonna duck.
If you've lived somewhere
that give you no mobility whatsoever,
then that means you've not been able
to access a lot of the world.
That's what I see the power of VR as.
Let's see you what you cannot see.
When you're running a study of 200 African women in VR,
you would learn that the Oculus Go
is not designed for black hair.
My hair right now is fine,
but would work 'cause is it's like flat down,
but a lot of times,
black is hair is much bigger than this,
braids are much thicker and much longer.
I am trying to design a new head-strap system for VR.
The first part is pretty simple,
like just get a Velcro strap and some nice material
and wrap it around.
I'm just still figuring out the top part,
because the easy thing is to sort of have
a strap come from the middle and attack to the back,
but the problem is
is that the hair is all here,
so I need to find a second strap system
to make sure that this balances
and doesn't lose weight.
One of the tests is like hey,
there's this imaginary person who's 16 years old
and she's a woman.
Imagine the best life she could ever have.
And it's been so fascinating to see how language changes
depending on what experience you encountered
and how people's imaginations of their best life
become more liberated.
I don't know what that is.
I'm trying to figure it out.