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authors Henry, Daniel
year 1992
title Spatial Perception in Virtual Environments : Evaluating an Architectural Application
source University of Washington
summary Over the last several years, professionals from many different fields have come to the Human Interface Technology Laboratory (H.I.T.L) to discover and learn about virtual environments. In general, they are impressed by their experiences and express the tremendous potential the tool has in their respective fields. But the potentials are always projected far in the future, and the tool remains just a concept. This is justifiable because the quality of the visual experience is so much less than what people are used to seeing; high definition television, breathtaking special cinematographic effects and photorealistic computer renderings. Instead, the models in virtual environments are very simple looking; they are made of small spaces, filled with simple or abstract looking objects of little color distinctions as seen through displays of noticeably low resolution and at an update rate which leaves much to be desired. Clearly, for most applications, the requirements of precision have not been met yet with virtual interfaces as they exist today. However, there are a few domains where the relatively low level of the technology could be perfectly appropriate. In general, these are applications which require that the information be presented in symbolic or representational form. Having studied architecture, I knew that there are moments during the early part of the design process when conceptual decisions are made which require precisely the simple and representative nature available in existing virtual environments. This was a marvelous discovery for me because I had found a viable use for virtual environments which could be immediately beneficial to architecture, my shared area of interest. It would be further beneficial to architecture in that the virtual interface equipment I would be evaluating at the H.I.T.L. happens to be relatively less expensive and more practical than other configurations such as the "Walkthrough" at the University of North Carolina. The set-up at the H.I.T.L. could be easily introduced into architectural firms because it takes up very little physical room (150 square feet) and it does not require expensive and space taking hardware devices (such as the treadmill device for simulating walking). Now that the potential for using virtual environments in this architectural application is clear, it becomes important to verify that this tool succeeds in accurately representing space as intended. The purpose of this study is to verify that the perception of spaces is the same, in both simulated and real environment. It is hoped that the findings of this study will guide and accelerate the process by which the technology makes its way into the field of architecture.
keywords Space Perception; Space (Architecture); Computer Simulation
series thesis:MSc
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