Applications of mixed reality in architecture, engineering, and *construction: Specification, prototype, and evaluation

Xiangyu Wang, Purdue University


Despite substantial research in Virtual Reality, the emerging related technology of Mixed Reality (MR) that creates an environment where virtual and real objects are presented together on a single display, has rarely been explored in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) arena. Observation of the limited lab-based MR applications in the AEC arena and other related domains highlights the need for a structured methodology addressing suitability and usability issues for the application potentials of MR technology to be fully realized. This research has addressed the three major serial development steps: specification, prototyping, and evaluation. The scientific contribution of the developed specification was the formulation of a comprehensive multi-dimensional taxonomy for specifying MR technology and characteristics. Building upon Milgram's taxonomy, characteristics including media representations, input mechanism, output mechanism, and tracking technology were progressively disclosed and presented as continuums, incorporating suitability and usability suggestions and context-driven discussion. To increase the likelihood of success in technology transfer, a methodology for developing user-based MR systems was formulated, where AEC tasks were generically analyzed according to common functional features, which could be mapped to a collection of suitable or required MR-related technology strategies. To facilitate the adoption of MR into the AEC industry, the design review collaboration task was chosen as the specific application focus and test-bed. The concept---Mixed Reality-based collaborative virtual environments (MRCVE)---was presented and the prototypes in two identified application scenarios (face-to-face scenario and virtual space scenario) have been successfully developed. Evaluation was implemented on the basis of the MRCVE prototypes in terms of two aspects: benefits validation and usability evaluation. Benefits validation was implemented through two designed experiments to validate the benefits by MRCVE prototypes for certain scenarios by comparison with prevalent methods (paper-based 3D drawing and a commercially available collaboration software). The experimental data revealed that the MRCVE systems rather than the more conventional methods yielded shorter task completion time and lower total task load. Feedback from experimental subjects showed that MRCVE systems better aid design comprehension, better facilitate design collaboration tasks, communication, creativity, and problem-solving than the more conventional methods. Usability evaluation was based on classical usability methods to thoroughly assess MRCVE prototypes for potential user interface and system improvements. ^




Major Professor: Phillip S. Dunston, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Engineering, Civil|Psychology, Cognitive

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