Augmenting the Vernacular: The emotional impact of cognitive affordance in the built environment

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DC I/O 2020 proceeding by STEFAN FLORESCU.


Today, Augmented Reality (AR) technologies allow us to enhance our surroundings with virtual visual information in order to help us perform certain actions: from navigation to play; from highly advanced professional use to mass consumer use. But what happens when you augment a physical object with virtual information? How does this affect the user? The research proposes to answer a very particular question related to the level of well-being within the built environment: Does a higher level of cognitive affordance correlate with a higher level of wellbeing?

The paper presented here is part of a much more detailed master thesis done at the Bartlett School of Architecture UCL and focuses on the technical aspect of the research: software and hardware, physical and augmented reality within the built environment. The subject of the thesis was driven by a specific situation in Switzerland, used here as a case study for the proposed methodology. The project puts forward the idea of an augmentable architecture that through AR will be enhanced visually (by adding cognitive affordance), thus offering the image of a much more familiar environment and implicitly inducing a new level of comfort or well-being for users.

In order to test this hypothesis, an experiment was conducted over a small number of participants experiencing an AR environment using a video see-through device and an AR smartphone application developed by the author. During their experiences, their emotional activity was recorded in subjective and objective manners, through questionnaires and electroencephalogram (EEG) readings respectively.

The paper talks about affordances, emotions through technology and simulations, describes the AR environment and its related technologies, human factors and human-computer interaction, and focuses on how to identify and quantify the well-being emotions within the experiment. The self-assessed method was correlated with the electrophysiological readings in order to determine if the expected emotions were present during the AR simulation.


Augmented Reality, Augmentable Architecture, Cognitive Affordance, Human Factors, Human-Computer Interaction, Urban-Rural Simulation, Electroencephalography.


cognitive affordance (230), physical model (190), ar test questionnaire (142), emotional state (130), control ar test (110), post ar test (95), augmented reality (90), built environment (80), eeg device (80), eeg activity (70), myndplayer emotion graph (63), pre ar test (63), eeg reading (60), sparse setting (50), augmentable architecture (50), architectural detail (50), virtual environment (50), electrical noise (50), frequency band graph (47), immersive ar experience (47), post ar questionnaire (47), pre ar questionnaire (47), fully immersive ar (47), control experiment (40), western europe (40), optical see (40), swiss info (40), dry sensor (40), architectural element (40), third question (40)


AR Cloud, Architecture, Artificial Architecture, Augmentation, Data Visualization and Analysis for design, Design Cognition, Immersive technologies, Simulation, Smart spaces, Urban Design.



Video Presentation:

Full text: Maciel, A. (Ed.), 2020. Design Computation Input/Output 2020, 1st ed. Design Computation, London, UK. ISBN: 978-1-83812-940-8, DOI:10.47330/DCIO.2020.QPRF9890