Virtual Restorative Environments: Preliminary Studies in Scene, Sound and Smell

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Abstract

Previous restorative environment (RE) research suggests that exposure of individuals to natural settings can reduce stress, improve feelings of well-being and help individuals to recover from fatigue following intensive mental activities. This paper focuses on possible future opportunities for exploring Virtual Environments (VE) in the pursuit of restorative and rehabilitative therapies. The paper presents early work in developing such a Virtual Restorative Environment (VRE) and includes results from two preliminary studies. The first study compared two VEs (an urban city scene and a rural coastal scene) and showed the effect of ambient sounds on ratings of anxiety and relaxation. The second study explored the opportunity of incorporating odours into a VE using a novel olfactory display system and evaluated methods for measuring their effect on the user. Throughout, the paper discusses human factors and usability issues for VRE technologies and future research opportunities.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-91
JournalInternational Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations
Volume4
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012

Keywords

  • Restorative Environment; Virtual Restorative Environment; Virtual Reality; Olfactory Display; Human Factors; Usability