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Investigating the Ability of Immersive Virtual Environments to Facilitate Occupant Thermal State Data Collection Involving Face Masks

  • Girish Srivatsa Rentala
  • Yimin Zhu

This study examines the capability of an immersive virtual environment (IVE–based) experimental protocol to support occupant thermal state (sensation, acceptability, and comfort) data collection when participants wear face masks. Specifically, the goal is to see if there is a change in local thermal states due to face covering and would such a change affect overall thermal states. A between-subject experiment was conducted with fifty-four participants (27 masked; 27 unmasked) who were exposed to three-step temperatures (18.3ºC, 23.8ºC, and 29.4ºC) in a climate chamber under both cooling and heating sequences. In masked IVE experiments, participants donned a face mask and viewed the chamber's virtual model on a head-mounted display. In contrast, in unmasked IVE experiments, participants didn't use a face mask. Skin temperatures and overall/local thermal state responses were collected during the experiments. They were then statistically compared between masked IVE and unmasked IVE experiments. The results suggest that forehead temperature was significantly different under all step temperatures in the cooling sequence, with mean forehead temperature being larger in masked IVE than in unmasked IVE experiments. Furthermore, in masked IVE experiments, thermal sensation in the forehead, neck, and upper-back increased while the thermal acceptability in those same skin sites decreased, but this difference was not statistically significant. Also, in masked IVE experiments, the overall thermal sensation increased, whereas both the overall thermal acceptability and comfort decreased when compared with unmasked IVE experiments. Nonetheless, this difference was not statistically significant. To summarize, wearing a face mask didn't affect the participant's overall and local thermal states in IVEs, although few statistical differences were observed in skin temperatures

  • Keywords:
  • Immersive virtual environment,
  • thermal sensation,
  • thermal comfort,
  • thermal acceptability,
  • face masks.,
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Girish Srivatsa Rentala

Louisiana State University, United States - ORCID: 0000-0002-9847-4495

Yimin Zhu

Louisiana State University, United States - ORCID: 0000-0002-3871-4733

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  • Publication Year: 2023
  • Pages: 100-108

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  • Publication Year: 2023

Chapter Information

Chapter Title

Investigating the Ability of Immersive Virtual Environments to Facilitate Occupant Thermal State Data Collection Involving Face Masks

Authors

Girish Srivatsa Rentala, Yimin Zhu

DOI

10.36253/979-12-215-0289-3.10

Peer Reviewed

Publication Year

2023

Copyright Information

© 2023 Author(s)

Content License

CC BY-NC 4.0

Metadata License

CC0 1.0

Bibliographic Information

Book Title

CONVR 2023 - Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on Construction Applications of Virtual Reality

Book Subtitle

Managing the Digital Transformation of Construction Industry

Editors

Pietro Capone, Vito Getuli, Farzad Pour Rahimian, Nashwan Dawood, Alessandro Bruttini, Tommaso Sorbi

Peer Reviewed

Publication Year

2023

Copyright Information

© 2023 Author(s)

Content License

CC BY-NC 4.0

Metadata License

CC0 1.0

Publisher Name

Firenze University Press

DOI

10.36253/979-12-215-0289-3

eISBN (pdf)

979-12-215-0289-3

eISBN (xml)

979-12-215-0257-2

Series Title

Proceedings e report

Series ISSN

2704-601X

Series E-ISSN

2704-5846

42

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