Author: Abbas, Ali
Title: Understanding human factors issues in immersive virtual and augmented reality applications for construction
Advisors: Li, Heng (BRE)
Seo, JoonOh (BRE)
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2021
Subject: Virtual reality -- Industrial applications
Human-computer interaction
Construction industry -- Data processing
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Department of Building and Real Estate
Pages: 205 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: The complex nature of the architectural engineering and construction (AEC) industry demands a large exchange of data and complex information among the project's stakeholders on a regular basis and increases the industry's need for recent information technologies such as immersive virtual reality (IVR) and augmented reality (AR). Currently, the AEC industry is moving to embrace IVR/AR technologies for visualization purposes. However, the use of IVR/AR is not just limited to design review. These technologies can be used for different applications such as communication among stakeholders, information access/evaluation, inspection/safety, progress monitoring, and education/training. However, the best utilization of these tools demanded a sound knowledge of human IVR/AR-interaction. Past research indicated that research into human factors issues related to the use of IVR/AR technology is very limited. In addition, our knowledge of IVR/AR in terms of human factors is almost non-existent, and many researchers have emphasized the need to comprehend the fundamental human factors issues of immersive IVR/AR. Therefore, investigation of human factors issues for IVR/AR system interaction is needed to optimal understand the interactions with this technology and to improve the human cognitive process, performance, and safety for the construction industry. This research aims to provide a better understanding of immersive IVR/AR applications in construction and to examines human IVR/AR interaction issues, particularly to examines three applications of IVR/AR specifically, communication, cognitive task effectiveness, and training. First, to understand the human IVR/AR interaction, we compared the communication effectiveness of face-to-face communication in a real-world environment and immersive virtual reality-based communication in a virtual environment for construction. The results of experiments revealed that three factors - the quality of discussion, appropriateness, and openness had higher scores in the FtF condition because it offers the group members to open-minded share the ideas with enjoyment and makes it easy to discern their reactions or identify appropriate moments to speak. And, only one factor, richness, had a higher score in the IVR condition and considered more suitable to its members to communicate because IVR environment provided more detailed and vivid visual information to the participants. Whereas accuracy had found better in the FtF condition, which is believed due to weak human-human interaction in IVR. Secondly, to examine the cognitive task performance of AR systems we selected the mobile AR (MAR) systems because they are increasingly prominent and allow AR to be moved from the laboratory onto actual construction sites. This study conducted laboratory simulations of rebar-inspection tasks and compared the cognitive load, task performance, and situational awareness of users of two types of MAR system - i.e., head-mounted and handheld compared with traditional paper-based drawing. Participants' CL was measured with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Task Load Index (NASA-TLX); their TP, by completion time and the number of rebars correctly detected; and their SA, with Taylor's Situation Awareness Rating Technique (SART). The results revealed that rebar-framework design information provided via a superimposed virtual rebar model in MAR-assisted inspection decreased the inspectors' CL associated with the information-seeking (e.g., the number of rebars required; proper spacing) and processing (e.g., identifying missing or superfluous rebars in the actual rebar framework), however, it negatively impacted their situation awareness in dangerous surroundings. The head-mounted MAR device we used, in particular, decreased its users' understanding of the surrounding environment and increased their inspection-task completion times, as compared not only to paper-based inspection but also to its tablet-based counterpart. Thirdly, to explore the impact of immersive virtual based training on construction participants behavior and to understand the underlying mechanisms of behavior change with IVR-based training, we used the structural equation modeling approach. This study created IVR based training environment for forklift operator and examined how IVR system features could affect the behavior change outcomes. This identified how IVR system features could influence psychological factors such as presence, motivation, enjoyment, and self-efficacy and their relationships with behavior change outcomes through a structural equation modeling (SEM) approach. Using SmartPLS, the results supported the casual path from IVR system features to presence, motivation, perceived enjoyment, self-efficacy, and from the presence, motivation, perceived enjoyment, self-efficacy to behavior change outcomes. The findings of this study provide a comprehensive framework for understanding the constructs involved in behavior change with IVR training environment and highlight how IVR system features, presence, motivation, perceived enjoyment, and self-efficacy could impact on behavior change outcomes. Overall, the research outcomes from this thesis would contribute to the body of knowledge for human IVR/AR system interaction, and thus, we could better design the IVR/AR system for the construction industry.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: open access

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