Design patterns for Immersive Tech

Virtual Reality patterns

‘Cage Grid’ (for guardian systems)

User goal / Problem this is trying to solve

  • Understand the boundaries of the physical space allocated to VR physical movement
  • Prevent the user from hurting themselves or their surroundings


The user physically moves around their play area whilst in the VR application.

However when they approach the boundaries of the playable area or the room scale parameters that have been set up, a translucent grid appears to mark the boundary in each direction.

The grid has the appearance of a virtual cage superimposed over the 3D virtual world, warning the user not to venture outside of the cage.

If the user waves a controller too close to the boundary, the boundary markers also appear.

Often there is a visual change in the appearance of the hands or virtual controller if it touches or goes beyond the cage.

When the user moves away from the boundary the cage disappears, so as not to disrupt the VR experience.

  1. User approaches a defined wall or boundary = cage grid appear
  2. User breaks through the boundary with their hand, head or any other trackable part of the body = cage changes colour or behaviour to escalate the warning
  3. User backs away from the boundary = cage grid disappears, until needed again


  • Prevents user hitting a wall or walking into objects
  • Provides orientation within the physical world
  • Only appears if there is an imminent threat
  • Vive and Oculus provide settings to reduce the prominence or intensity of the grid


A drawback is that some users find the grid to be disruptive to their experience.
Especially if they are in a small area but rarely move enough to leave the playable area.

This can contribute to a break in presence.


Oculus Guardian system


Vive ‘advanced chaperons’ shows a single line at waist height to represent the boundary.

Dev mode only shows the boundary markers on the floor.