The research project will involve the documentation and investigation of creating a virtual environment that can be viewed and interacted with in a Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE). This environment will allow for multiple versions of a product to be placed inside and viewed. The interactions to occur between users and the virtual objects will include such activities as lifting, moving, and rotating. The products to be tested are designed to specifically be used by children in the first and second grade classroom. Through using the instrument of a CAVE, the scale of the environment will be adjusted to allow an adult user to see the objects from a children’s perspective. Using mathematical equations to calculate the scale variance, the scene can be adjusted to put the viewer in the position of the child’s point of view.
Through this study, I hope to demonstrate how through the use of computer visualization and rendering programs, products can be field tested. With this project, I seek to explore how, through the use of computers, a simulated virtual environment can enable a represented interaction with objects in a space. The objects to be tested in this research project are meant for use in a classroom where the object will be used by multiple users and repeated throughout the space. To estimate, about twenty instances of this object will be used in any given classroom at one time. The technology and representation will provide the ability to visualize the effects that the repetition of an object, such as the one to be modeled, will have on a space without having to manufacture and product the finished models in large quantities. This project is not meant to capture 2D images of a space but rather allow for a 3D virtual environment.
The scope of this research will include the modeling of this object, which was previously designed in a Fall Graduate Studio, the modeling of various classroom environments for the backdrop, and the marriage of these objects and environments in a third program that enables the ability for unlimited interactions. The limitations of the research will be marked by time constraints, as this project is to be completed over the course of the next three months and the access to a CAVE environment for process and final viewings.
The anticipated expectation is that this research and design will result in a fully interactive virtual classroom environment that will allow a multitude of users to move the objects contained in the room around to view different seating positions, view different seating arrangements, view different colors, and view different classroom environments or backgrounds from a child’s point of view. The final results will be displayed through an interactive flash file to be tested by peers, designers, researchers, and eventually children.