The major advantage of immersive and mixed reality environments is that such tools allow us to visualize and interact with features and elements that do not exist in real world. Using this towards our advantage, we can evaluate how different products may look in various environments and settings; we can also evaluate how people perceive, interact, and behave towards different changes in their environments when put in different situations. As a result of this, we can use such technologies to test and evaluate the effect of different settings, products, and elements on human behavior. Through this process, we can improve the design of elements (e.g., products, buildings, cars, etc.) to more accurately meet the end-users’ needs and preferences, while being able to adapt to various behavioral changes in different settings. However, before making any conclusions, it is important to ensure that the data collected from such environments is a proper representations of physical environments. Therefore, in this work, immersive virtual environment (IVE) and augmented reality environments are benchmarked to physical environments in order to identify if there exists any significant differences in end-users’ sense of perception, presence, and performance.
Presence and Performance in IVE vs. Physical Environments
The IVE benchmarking study (immersive virtual environments vs. physical environments) investigated if IVEs could be used as a tool to study occupant behaviour in built environments, specifically for studying lighting related preferences (e.g., lighting/shading system control preferences, etc.) in offices spaces. An immersive virtual office space identical (in terms of size, geometry, furniture, lighting, etc.) to a physical single-occupancy office space was designed. 112 participants’ performances (reading speed, comprehension and object identification) and senses of presence in two environments were compared. The participants’ sense of presence was strong in the IVE environment and they performed similarly in both virtual and physical environments. Results indicated that IVEs are an adequate representation of physical settings for evaluating participants’ interactions with different design features in offices while performing office-related activities.
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- Heydarian, A., Carneiro, J.P., Gerber, D., and Becerik-Gerber, B. (2015). “Immersive Virtual Environments, Understanding the Impact of Design Features and Occupant Choice upon Lighting for Building Performance.” Elsevier Journal of Building and Environment.
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