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Physical Avatars in a Projector-Camera Tangible User Interface Enhance Quantitative Simulation Analysis and Engagement

By Joshua Nasman and Barbara Cutler


We present an augmented reality environment for the visualization of architectural daylighting simulations. The new visualizations focus the users ’ attention on the problematic aspects of a building design. Architectural design is a task particularly well suited for Tangible User Interfaces (TUIs). The user physically constructs a scale model of the building, a lighting simulation is then performed on this space, and then the simulation results are projected into the physical model by a set of calibrated projectors. A user study of an earlier version of the system revealed that users lacked accurate quantitative information about the propagation of natural light within architectural spaces and had difficulties identifying and reasoning about areas of overillumination, under-illumination, and glare. This was our motivation for two important additions to the system: physical avatar tokens within the physical scale model to specify areas of interest for glare and false color visualizations. We render viewpoints from the perspective of each avatar and indicate glare for each viewpoint. To provide users with an additional way to minimize glare and provide visual interest, we introduce new complex and interesting shading materials. These features illustrated in our tool create a more immersive and educational experience for novice and experienced designers. 1

Year: 2013
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