The Meaningful XR conference is a product of happy circumstance. I (Robby Ratan, lead organizer) am an Associate Professor at Michigan State University, working full-time remotely while living in the Stanford area. Since 2022, I have been teaching all of my MSU classes in virtual reality -- we lend students Quest 2 headsets for the term -- and running my lab at MSU (the SPARTIE Lab) from afar. Being reconnected with Stanford, where I began studying virtual reality and avatars in 2005, has reminded me of the important role that this region is playing in building the immersive Internet (i.e., metaverse). Drawing from my experience organizing many other conferences (e.g., the Meaningful Play conference at MSU), I decided to launch Meaningful XR. I am hoping that XR scholars and practitioners will recognize the unique potential of sharing meaningful XR-related ideas in Silicon Valley, the home of many pioneering XR-related companies and research labs.
I am grateful to MSU's Department of Media & Information, Stanford's Department of Communication, Professor Jeremy Bailenson and his Virtual Human Interaction Lab, the Journal of Media Psychology, and the many co-organizers and committee members who are all working to make this event happen. I am also deeply grateful to our sponsors whose financial support make it possible to bring out an amazing lineup of keynote speakers and also to help students afford to attend the conference.
Thank you for your interest and for potentially being a part of the Meaningful XR community (est. 2024!).
Rabindra (Robby) Ratan