Research conducted at the mixed reality lab uses Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Digital Prototyping. We consider this research as working within the reality-virtuality continuum. The term reality-virtuality continuum was defined by Milgram and Kishino (1994).

Virtual Reality


Virtual reality can be considered as computer simulated three dimension environments which either emulated the real world or act as made up imaginary worlds. Even though majority of virtual environments cater to the visual sense virtual environments can cater to the auditory, haptic, olfactory and even the taste sense. VR is commonly used as entertainment, education and research tools. It offers a wide variety of options and opportunities in conducting research especially in human behavior research since virtual environments can be controlled according to the need of the researcher.

Our lab has the following technologies that accommodate VR simulations.

Augmented Reality


Augmented reality has been defined as a variation of virtual reality (Azuma, 1997). While VR completely immerses the user inside a computer generated environment where they cannot relate to the physical environment, AR allows the overlaying of virtual elements on to the physical environment. AR can be considered as a hybrid of virtual and physical environments, and supplements reality than replace it.

Miligram (1994) defines AR as a middle ground between virtual and physical environments. According to his definition augmented reality is a type of mixed reality where the other type of mixed reality he discusses is augmented virtuality. In augmented reality the physical world is enhanced using virtual elements and in augmented virtuality the virtual environment is enhanced using physical (or real) elements.

Our lab has the following technologies that accommodate AR simulations.

Digital Prototyping


Physical prototypes in design have been traditionally used to provide a representation of final design outcomes and to improve as well as obtain feedback on the design process. However, Studies on physical prototyping or model making in design have shown to increase fixation (Christensen, and Schunn, 2007).  Designers tend to fixate on the design during the time that they spend on making the physical prototype. This is considered as a sunk-cost effect in physical prototyping (Viswanathan and Lindsey, 2013). Using virtual modeling techniques together with digital prototyping may reduce any fixation effects caused through physical prototyping.

Our lab has the following technologies that accommodate Digital Prototyping.

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