Speaker: Pahr, Daniel (TU Wien)

We conducted a study to systematically investigate the communication of complex dynamic processes along a two-dimensional design space, where the axes represent a representation’s manifestation (physical or virtual) and operation (manual or automatic). We exemplify the design space on a model embodying cardiovascular pathologies, represented by a mechanism where a liquid is pumped into a  draining vessel, with complications illustrated through modifications to the model. The results of a mixed-methods lab study with 28 participants show that both physical manifestation and manual operation have a strong positive impact on the audience’s engagement. The study does not show a measurable knowledge increase with respect to cardiovascular pathologies using manually operated physical representations. However, subjectively, participants report a better understanding of the process—mainly through non-visual cues like haptics, but also auditory cues. The study also indicates an increased task load when interacting with the process, which, however, seems to play a minor role for the participants. Overall, the study shows a clear potential of physicalization for the communication of complex
dynamic processes, which only fully unfold if observers have to chance to interact with the process.



20 + 25
Supervisor: Pahr, Daniel