The Potential of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Technologies as Interior Design Visualization and Presentation Tools

Presented by: Dr. SeonMi Choi

Space visualization and design presentations are essential aspects in the interior design industry and education. Virtual Reality technology which refers to a 3D simulation of the human experience within the digital world has been used as a dominant space visualization and presentation method (Helmick, 1993). In the past few years, the architecture, engineering, and construction industry has utilized Augmented Reality technology as an innovative way to improve visualization and building design and construction processes. AR enables people to see the real environment with virtual objects superimposed onto it (Kipper and Rampolla, 2013). In the interior design field, AR has been commonly used in furniture and lighting manufacturer catalog Apps which allow customers view digital 3D products in their real settings using mobile devices. Due to the rising popularity of mobile devices, the widespread use of AR and VR on mobile gadgets has become a growing phenomenon in design fields. However, the interior design education has been slow in coping with the current need for AR and advanced VR integration into the curriculum. The purpose of this study is to investigate the potential implementation of AR and VR technologies in the interior design education. The target participants were interior design senior students in the southwestern state university. As the first phase, AR technology was introduced and used for students’ thesis projects and portfolios. Students built a 3D virtual model using Revit and then exported it to the Unity program for creation of an AR model. They played an AR model on a screen using a webcam and a target marker with color boards including photo-realistic renderings for thesis project presentations (Figure 1). This group of students created a printed portfolio book and included an AR target marker. Professional interior designers were invited to review their portfolios and they could see student’s AR model using this target maker and a tablet (Figure 2). The online survey questionnaire was developed to ask about how satisfied students are with the use of an AR model for projects and presentations; how they rate the importance of AR technology application across the interior design curriculum; and whether or not they agree that an AR model helps them to emphasize key designs during the presentation. Students showed positive responses to above questions and were satisfied with the use of AR technology. They agreed AR would enable interior design students to have a holistic understanding of the spatial environment and learning this new skill would open new doors for more opportunities. The professional designers showed positive attitudes towards the use of an AR model for students’ portfolios and presentations. They agreed that AR enhanced the interaction between students and reviewers and the integration of AR technology across the interior design education and industry is becoming increasingly important. As the second phase, this academic year’s senior students are now using the advanced VR technique with a headset and a smartphone (Figure 3). The online manual including video tutorials has been developed and this has helped students better understand the process of AR and advanced VR model creation (Figure 4). The researcher expects that integrating AR and VR technologies in the interior design curriculum will improve the quality of project visualization and presentation as well as facilitate better spatial cognition and more effective communication. Interior design education by incorporating these advanced technologies will have the potential to produce competitive future interior designers who can play a significant role within the integrated project team. The poster including project information, processes of AR and VR model creation, students’ work products, and survey results will be displayed and the presenter will use a mobile device, a target marker, and a headset to demonstrate AR and VR models.

References:

  • Helmick, R. (1993). Virtual reality: A design simulation technique that overpowers design content. Journal of Interior Design, 19 (1), 19-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-1668.1993.tb00148.x
  • Kipper, G., & Rampolla, J. (2013). Augmented Reality: An emerging technologies guide. Waltham, MA: Syngress
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