Implementing User-Centered Methods and Virtual Reality to Rapidly Prototype Augmented Reality Tools for Firefighters
Designing and testing products for high-risk emergencies is a challenging task, especially due to the inhibitive cost of building testing environments that recreate the psychological pressures of the field. The chaotic nature of emergency environments makes gathering accurate data amidst the chaos of such environments difficult, while ethical and practical considerations limit prototype deployment in potentially life-threatening situations. These environments pose serious risk to physical and mental well-being. This paper provides a case study to examine the benefits and drawbacks of a Virtual Reality (VR) environment to test prototypes of a tool for firefighters. The VR simulated environment out performs a physical simulation because it is cheaper and safer, generates more reliable data, and provides greater control and flexibility of prototypes, allowing designers to test prototypes more rapidly than in a physical environment. This paper summarizes a 9-month Draper-sponsored capstone project with 5 HCII students.
KeywordsVirtual reality Augmented cognition Rapid prototyping Human centered design Contextual design
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