Google is Transforming Humans Into Dogs to Stop Harassment in Virtual Reality

Google has been thinking up some pretty ingenious ways to prevent players from engaging in negative behavior in virtual reality, one of which includes transforming their avatars into dogs.

The company’s VR-focused Daydream Labs has been conjuring up unique methods of preventing harassment on the HTV Vive, utilizing tested methods that discourage distressing behavior among humans. One such method is the introduction of adorable dogs, only rather than giving players a VR dog to look at, they instead transform players avatars into dogs. The logic here is that players will be unwilling to harass one another if the target of said harassment is a canine, with the company having tentatively employed it in a VR poker demo.

The demo, which you can watch in the video below, sees two players facing one another with their bodies represented by a dog’s head and paws. while walking away from the table caused the screen to fade to gray. Players are also instructed to return to their seat by way of a glowing spotlight placed above their stool, encouraging them to continue playing the game.

Google is also testing out a mechanic that reinforces positive interactions between players. In one demo, two players are shown giving each other a high-five before a short firework animation is displayed. This gives players an incentive to be friendly with one another during gameplay.

Another near little feature showcased by Google was a mini-game titled Shopping, in which players can put hats, glasses and other assorted clothing items on their avatars.