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Evacuating Virtual Buildings

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A study participant navigates a staircase guided by a virtual reality headset.

Delft University of Technology researchers are using virtual reality and augmented reality to study the behavior of pedestrians.

Credit: TU Delft

Researchers at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands are studying how virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) may help explain the behavior of pedestrians.

VR and AR can simulate real-life situations, including potentially dangerous ones.

The researchers asked 150 volunteers to navigate a virtual version of the university’s Civil Engineering and Geosciences (CEG) building to study pedestrian behavior in multi-story buildings. Participants roamed the virtual building using either VR glasses or a computer.

The participants spent about 20 minutes in the virtual building; after completing three tasks, they were told to evacuate.

The researchers found that participants who used the computer were much less likely to show signs of stress during the evacuation than those who used VR glasses.

Said TU Delft’s Yan Feng, “To participate in the experiment via a desktop screen is much more like playing a computer game. With VR glasses you really feel you’re in the middle of a situation.”

From TU Delft
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Abstracts Copyright © 2020 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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