Several studies indicate that virtual reality (VR) systems are useful for end-user participation in an environmental design process. However, these systems can be costly and thus support for the decision whether to invest in a VR of some type is useful. This study presents a novel method for analysing the usefulness of a VR system for the purpose of end-user participation. We collected qualitative end-user opinion data in the real environment and then contrasted this data with the capabilities of a VR system. Additionally, to better understand the capabilities of the VR used, we examined how the end-users perceive the used virtual environment, which in this case was CAVE, an immersive VR system where projectors are directed to the walls of a room-sized cube. In this way, we analysed whether the same functions and elements identified by end-users on the actual wards could also be evaluated in the CAVE. Eleven nurses and 11 patients participated in the study by evaluating a bathroom and/or four patient rooms modelled by the CAVE and the actual hospital wards. The CAVE was convenient for evaluating most issues identified by the study participants in the actual hospital wards, i.e. aesthetics; correct location of equipment, supplies and materials; distraction by or the good companion of other patients as well as window position and size and living/workspace. However, it was not possible to evaluate with full certainty the possibilities for bracing against grab bars or other objects in the VR, and this was found to be relevant to the independent functioning of patients with limited mobility. Also, due to the relatively low luminance levels of projectors, evaluations regarding lighting were considered unreliable. Moreover, end-users were not always certain about the sizes and sufficiency of space in the CAVE. Solutions to overcome these limitations were proposed.
|Number of pages||15|
|Publication status||Published - 2010|
|MoE publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|
- Collaborative design
- End-user participation
- Patient room design
- Virtual reality