Wonder — How It Works
Wonder is a web service (developed by a German company) that allows you to create virtual rooms with different options. For the EUU Spring Retreat, it was set up as a virtual lobby and lounge on the desktop, with several rectangles representing rooms with different themes that you could go into. Upon first entering, I gave Wonder permission to use my camera and mic, registered my name, and took a picture of myself with the camera. This created a dot with my name and picture on it. I was able to drag this dot into one of the rooms where I discovered other dots — people I knew and wanted to socialize with. Entering a circle of people at a defined distance connected our cameras and microphones, just like a zoom session. Moving out of the circle disconnected everything again. This allowed people to move from room to room and group to group or just to chat with individuals strolling around the “lounge.”
On Saturday night, I had my buddy Thorsten (with whom I make music) over to practice, and we decided to do a half-hour showcase after the talent show in the music area of the lounge. We had spread the word, so a small group soon gathered. Even Nathalie’s two-year-old son Ursin was watching. I remember he started waving a stuffed animal in rhythm. Soon stuffed animals appeared on many of the other screens of those present. I remember a dancing rabbit with floppy ears (from Terri) and a dancing Moomin troll (from Gevene). Needless to say, Ursin loved it, and we really entertained the boy. We were very happy with how the concert went and hope the audience enjoyed it as much as we did (they must have, because leaving the circle is easy :-D).
We were very happy with the video and audio quality — this service must have a powerful back-end. I highly recommend it for these types of events and situations, and it seems to be easy enough for users to use as well as for administrators to set up such a virtual room.
Tom Klingl, UU Bern