The Impact of Virtual Environments on Humans Collaboration in Product Design

DS 58-9: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design, Vol. 9, Human Behavior in Design, Palo Alto, CA, USA, 24.-27.08.2009

Year: 2009
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Mengoni, Maura; Peruzzini, Margherita; Germani, Michele
Series: ICED
Section: Human Behavior in Design
Page(s): 57-68


Virtual Reality (VR) has quickly evolved over the last years in terms of technological and applicative dimensions. Human-Computer Interaction is particularly meaningful in the design activities involving multidisciplinary teamwork, collaborating to achieve a common task. It influences users behaviors, representational and communication modalities. A successful Collaborative Virtual Environment has to naturally support cognitive design actions and follow users' natural communication styles by stimulating comparison and discussion while reducing time and costs. In this context, our research goal is to evaluate performances of different human-scale virtual environments in design situations involving multiple specialists with different knowledge and expertise. We proposed a protocol to highlight the main cognitive actions and interaction styles in collaborative environments in order to assess how VR systems affect multidisciplinary cooperation. Experimental test cases are used to compare performances of virtual and physical prototypes in design reviews activities in order to address future research developments in VR.

Keywords: Collaborative design, Multimodal interaction, Virtual Reality, CVE (Collaborative Virtual Environment)


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