Interactive Virtual Reality Simulation Environment for Indoor Climate Analysis

In the interactive virtual reality (VR) simulation environment, users are immersively embedded in 3D visualizations of interior spaces and experience the simulated indoor climate of an associated thermal room model physically as thermal feedback. To implement this approach, a Modelica-based building model was coupled with the Unity game engine in real time. Users can behave interactively in the VR simulation environment, by, for example, opening a window or changing the setpoint of a room thermostat, thereby influencing the energy and humidity balance of the thermal room model. The current room climate, which is continuously calculated in real time generated in a climate chamber by several air conditioning units and thermal radiation surfaces, dynamically adjusted if necessary and thus made physically tangible for users in the VR simulation environment.

Interactive virtual reality simulation environment with thermal feedback for the user, left: Climate chamber for generating thermal feedback, right: VR room model with interaction options (Source: UdK Berlin)

The illustration shows a user in the climate chamber interacting with the VR model, with the user being illuminated by an artificial sun and physically experiencing the air currents through room openings (doors, windows).

The following video demonstrates the operation of the interactive virtual reality simulation environment:


Publications related to the interactive VR simulation environment

The interactive virtual reality simulation environment is being developed within the research project "EnOB: GEnEff: A new type of evaluation of building-energy efficiency and an innovative demonstration by means of simulation methods and virtual reality" under the funding code 03EN1017A/B.