User needs, user feedback, 3D user interface, virtual reality, mixed reality, game development, speech recognition, Unity, Unreal Engine, visualization
How could we effectively use 3D models of buildings to gather information about what the user need or want when designing public buildings such as hospitals? How can we collect the user’s feedback while he/she is viewing the 3D model on the screen or in a virtual environment? How could we motivate the users to give feedback? Using a game? How can we efficiently gather and present user feedback in relation with specific building locations (e.g. floors, rooms, and details such as doors, walls, or windows)?
When designing buildings, we should consider the needs of the different users as well as possible. For most people, especially non-professionals, architectural 2D drawings are very hard to understand and they do not communicate details well. With architectural 3D models we offer the user a more graphic possibility to understand the design of the building. Using virtual reality, an even more realistic view into the building design can be provided. We got to a point, that the client understands the design, now we need to find a way to collect the feedback/comments of the client.
An example of how we get the feedback from our client now:
The client/user has the possibility to visit their future work environment in virtual reality via HTC Vive. Sessions for groups were arranged and an assigned secretary wrote down the feedbacks/comments. This collection of comments was sent to the architect.
Typical desired changes are:
- materials and colors of objects
- position of objects (walls, windows, doors, furniture etc.)
In our point of view this process is not good, because:
- needs a “secretary”
- architect may not understand the feedback correctly, because we have only words without visual support
- group sessions may be difficult to arrange
A more advanced approach would:
- provide easy access to building 3D models over the Internet
- have a user interface for adding comments to different parts of the 3D building model
- facilitate discussion from different users and visualize the existing discussions effectively
Approach and considerations
Consider data transfer between VR and architects design software, for example BCF, BIM Collaboration Format (http://www.buildingsmart-tech.org/specifications/bcf-releases). You could also consider non VR implementation
The visual quality of the model does not matter.
Example: a hospital 3D model in a browser with a virtual toilet wall or some other way to tell what you want or what you think. You could compile the Unity projects to WebGL which is natively supported by the browsers.
Technology, data, and materials
IFC and FBX models will be handed out on-site.
There are five HTC Vives and 10 Samsung VRs available for development, testing, and for some gaming.
Unity tutorials and documentation: https://unity3d.com/learn
Unreal Engine: https://www.unrealengine.com
Unreal Engine documentation: https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/
Unreal Engine video tutorials: https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Videos/
- Preferably solutions would be compatible with Unity or Unreal Engine
- Solution should be easy to use for both sides: the giver and receiver of the feedback
- Intuitive and rich interactive concept and prototypes / proof of concept applications
- Consider suitable technology for the context of use