A study into the influence of visual prototyping methods and immersive technologies on the perception of abstract product properties
Editor: Ekströmer, Philip; Schütte, Simon and Ölvander, Johan
Author: Forbes, Tegan; Barnes, Hannah; Kinnell, Peter; Goh, Yee Mey
Institution: Loughborough University
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) software are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and they are finding new uses in a wide range of applications. From a product design perspective, the ability to visualise computer generated3Dmodels,in natural and more intuitive ways may offer many benefits. However, as yet there have been limited studies that have systematically evaluated the benefits of these technologies for product design related applications. This study is focused on furniture design, and it looks at both technologies, to assess how their immersive qualities can affect human perception of what is being viewed. The purpose of the study is twofold; first it aims to find out how increasingly immersive technologies affect human perception of comfort, ergonomics and style, and second it investigates the differences in the experiences of design-trained and non-design-trained users. The study comprised each participant viewing three different armchairs in six different media, with each medium providing a different viewing experience. The media used were 3D isometric views of CAD images printed on paper,3D interactive CAD models, AR, VR, viewing real armchairs with no tactile interaction and experiencing real armchairs with tactile interaction. After viewing the armchairs in each medium, a questionnaire rating the comfort, ergonomics and style for three different armchairs was filled out by participants. In addition, the participants were also asked to score their level of confidence in the provided ratings. The study shows that there are differences, between the media considered, in the level of confidence with which participants are able to rate products. In general, it shows that more immersive viewing experiences lead to increased levels of confidence. While no purely visual interaction can compete with real physical interaction, the study also demonstrates that for all participants AR and in particular VR can offer a viewing experience that is comparable with true reality.