Human Building Interaction (HBI) Model: Use of CFD and Augmented Reality

The method I developed for realtime airflow simulations supported the Human-Building Interaction (HBI) model I co-developed with Dr. Ali Malkawi (Harvard GSD) , where users can situate in an actual space, and with the aid of an Augmented Reality (AR) immersive head-mounted device, they can immediately explore and interact with data using speech and gesture recognitions.

AR fig 2 AR fig 3  fig 4 fig 5

Interested to watch the demonstration of Human Building Interaction model?

Using this AR system, the designer or engineer can “move” through a three-dimensional real environment onto which the thermal and airflow behaviors are mapped from Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation, and add or modify elements of the simulated environment through computer generated virtual objects. For example, using this integrated tool, a building engineer might go “in” to a room using the wearable AR system and move the cooling vents from near the window to near the door, and the AR system will display to the engineer, the effect of that change on the room’s airflow and, thereby, the building energy use. With the help of my HBI model, architects and engineers can explore multiple design options and analyze their effects in realtime before fitting them in actual-space, saving time and money. The Automation in Construction journal published this groundbreaking development of my HBI model in an article titled, “A New Paradigm for Human-Building Interaction: The Use of CFD and Augmented Reality.”

The HBI model has several important real world applications namely,

  • In the case of biological attacks and during fire egress, the HBI model has the ability to detect agents / indoor wind movements and evacuate building occupants
  • The HBI model has the ability to interact with conditions to determine most optimal design for buildings in terms of energy savings during building design and construction; and during building remodeling and refurbishment, the model has the ability to improve conditions in buildings.
  • The HBI model can also be used for educating several different occupations that encounters the conditions above such as architects, builders, mechanical engineers, environmental engineers and consultants for energy efficient building design.
  • And, finally, the HBI model I developed can be used for “gamification” of energy efficient design exploration through the ability to be used in the gaming industry where users can interact with real-objects and environmental conditions.

It is to be noted that the HBI model was expanded by other researchers including researchers at Temple University who, for their project in which mobile robots are being used to acquire 3D spatial data, which is then integrated into the environment mapping portion of HBI model as evidenced in the paper titled “Mobile Robot Mapping and Immersive Building Simulation,” presented at the Sixteenth International Conference on Computer Graphics and Vision conference held in Moscow, Russia. This promising research will eventually allow remote mapping of interior environments by robot, and remote manipulation of those environments using HBI to allow an operator to guide the robot. In the same year, I was invited to contribute his work to the International Journal of Architectural Computing. My article titled Interfacing with the Real Space and Its Performance” was chosen for publication in the International Journal of Architectural Computing.

In short, the HBI model I co-developed in transformational research that has changed the way energy efficient design can be explored dramatically as evident with over 100 citations collectively of my contribution in the field of building airflow and energy studies.

Several journal articles and conference proceedings were published discussing the Human Building Interaction model. They are available in RESEARCH page.