Research

As a tenure track assistant professor, I am moving my research agenda forward. I named my research "dc square", as per digital, design, creativity and cognition. Through it, I expect to better understand how new digital media technologies can positively affect the creative design process.

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Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy: A tool for Assessing Perceived Retail Crowding in Virtual Reality

Perceived Retail Crowding (PRC) is defined as a psychological state in which an individual´s demand for space exceeds its current availability when interacting in a retail environment. 
This study contrasted two different retail environments developed using SketchUp software for spatial modeling and uploaded in virtual reality (VR) to measure spatial crowding perception. Consideration of previous research was accounted for when designing the retail environments. The main hypothesis was that the unfamiliarity of the space would positively affect perceived spatial crowding. Hence, it was inferred that organic layout might yield higher perceived spatial crowding. Twenty-two participants were randomly assigned to the two VR environments. They were to perform a walkthrough the virtual environment, and their emotional responses were recorded using a functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIR) device. As a control measure, each participant filled an online questionnaire based on the NASA-TLX, which assessed their emotional responses and cognitive load. The outcomes of this study provide guidelines to designers when considering retail environments and expand on existing methodologies to understand human responses to spatial characteristics.

Citation: Mejia P., L., Korneva, E. (2019) “Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy: A tool for Assessing Perceived Retail Crowding in Virtual Reality”., Biopac T4 Conference. University of California. Santa Barbara, California.

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Primary Generators: The Influence of Digital Modeling Environments in the Creative Design Process.

This paper explored how digital media tools in Geometric Modeling Environments (GME) and Parametric Design Environments (PDE) affect the creative process. Primary generators are identified as creativity sparks which enhance the design process. The occurrence of primary generators has been previously studied through the action of sketching. According to Goldschmidt, sketching generates reflection over the generated ideas moving forward the creative process. Nevertheless, sketching has been gradually replaced by digital media tools considered restrictive to the creative process due to the lack of attributes required for reflection. With the evolution of digital media tools, Geometric Modeling Environments (GME) and Parametric Design Environments (PDE) have opened the possibility for attributes such as multiplicity and ambiguity within the design process. Using protocol analysis as an empirical research method, this study assessed the occurrence of primary generators in GME and PDE. Differences in creative processes between the two studied digital environments were highlighted.

Citation: Mejia, L. A., & Arango, H. D. (2019). Primary Generators: The Influence of Digital Modeling Environments in the Creative Design Process. International Journal of Virtual and Augmented Reality (IJVAR), 3(2), 11-22.

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Effect of Degrees of Freedom on the Sense of Presence Generated by Virtual Reality (VR) Head-Mounted Display Systems: A Case Study on the Use of VR in Early Design Studios.

The purpose of this research was to explore the use of virtual reality (VR) in early design studios. In this research project, two different types of Head-Mounted Display (HMD) systems were used. One type of HMD provided six degrees of freedom and the other HMD provided three degrees of freedom. The research findings provide comparison on the functionality of the different types of HMDs and the sense of presence in VR environments. Sense of presence is defined as the sense of “being
there” in a computer-simulated environment. The outcomes of this research are (a) development of a new presence questionnaire that focuses on newer VR systems and (b) understanding student perception of using VR in design projects.

Citation: Chandrasekera, T., Fernando, K., & Puig, L. (2019). Effect of Degrees of Freedom on the Sense of Presence Generated by Virtual Reality (VR) Head-Mounted Display Systems: A Case Study on the Use of VR in Early Design Studios. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 47(4), 513-522.

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Unexpected Discoveries and their
Enhancement of the Design Process.

The design process has evolved with the inclusion of technology, affecting the creative process. Digital media tools have become for design studios and educational facilities a setting for idea representation, development and communication within the design process. The evolution of digital
media tools has shifted from two-dimensional applications to more diverse and flexible threedimensional scenarios. The inclusion of parameters as modelling attributes give designers new possibilities by which they can enhance their creativity and idea generation processes. The purpose of
this study was to identify unexpected discoveries as milestones for creativity within two digital media tools; Geometric Modelling Environments (GME) and Parametric Design Environments (PDE). A
protocol analysis study was conducted between the two digital environments to comprehend the design process. The level of creativeness of each design outcome was contrasted with the digital
environment used.

Citation: Mejia, L. A., Arango, H. D., & Chandrasekera, T. (2018). Unexpected Discoveries and their Enhancement of the Design Process. In DS 93: Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2018), Dyson School of Engineering, Imperial College, London. 6th-7th September 2018 (pp. 230-235).

Tools 

Here you can find a brief description of the research tools and topics I have been building upon to conduct my research.

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Physiological Tools

Physiological tools such as fNIR, skin conductivity and heart rate monitors to correlate with psychometric tools.

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Protocol Analysis

Use of recordings for analysis through coding schemes. Efficient method to analyze the design process and creativity.

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Virtual and Augmented Reality

Development of virtual and augmented reality educational tools for design research.

Conference Presentations

Some pictures of my latest conference presentations.

Visit my Portfolio

A small view into some of my academic work

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