Virtual Reality for Fire Evacuation Research
Max Kinateder, Enrico Ronchi, Daniel Nilsson, Margrethe Kobes, Mathias Müller, Paul Pauli, Andreas Mühlberger
Citation: Proceedings of the 2014 Federated Conference on Computer Science and Information Systems, M. Ganzha, L. Maciaszek, M. Paprzycki (eds). ACSIS, Vol. 2, pages 313–321 (2014)
Abstract. Virtual reality (VR) has become a popular approach to study human behavior in fire. The present position paper analyses Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) of VR as a research tool for human behavior in fire. Virtual environments provide a maximum of experimental control, are easy to replicate, have relatively high ecological validity, and allow safe study of occupant behavior in scenarios that otherwise would be too dangerous. Lower ecological validity compared to field studies, ergonomic aspects, and technical limitations are the main weaknesses of the method. Increasingly realistic simulations and other technological advances provide new opportunities for this relatively young method. In this position paper, we argue that VR is a promising complementary laboratory tool in the quest to understand human behavior in fire and to improve fire safety.