VR Development Techniques

There is a rising need for combating the effects of global warming and design education is a crucial channel to sensitize the designer on roles they play in the creation of energy efficient buildings.

Building energy simulation ENERGYSIM
About the Project

This research explores VR as a teaching tool for building energy education. We developed EnergySIM; a multi-user VR building energy simulation prototype of the famous Farnsworth House. Using this prototype, we document rigorously tested development workflows for improved VR game performance, high visual fidelity, and user interaction, the three key factors which positively contribute to user knowledge retention. The study combines menu-driven interaction, virtual exploration, and miniature model manipulation approaches with the aim of testing user understanding and knowledge retention.

This project won the 3rd Prize Winner at the Global Metaverse Hackathon. A publicly released version is available here.

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  • Category
  • VR Development
Full research paper available

You can read the full research paper here – 

This study demonstrated the potential of an Energy Simulation VR prototype development towards higher visual fidelity and improved learning outcomes. The system provides an interactive environment for learning how the Farnsworth House (case study), responds to daylighting and energy consumption across various seasons and four material scenarios: single glazing, double glazing, concrete walls, and wood construction for interior atmospheric temperature mapping. This study combined geometry optimization techniques, menu driven interactions and miniature model manipulation, with the aim of testing user understanding and knowledge retention regarding building energy usage. Although not gamified, the future objective is to make the prototype a game experience with a goal of impacting learning in high school students who have interests in building design courses at university level. 

The EnergySIM VR prototype pushes the boundaries of visual fidelity in simulations showing recommended tools and methods for best visual impact towards learning. The provided workflow is optimized for educational VR application developers, instructors, and design students. EnergySIM achieved the simplification of teaching advanced level building energy response, down to an enjoyable, visual yet impactful rudimentary level.

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