An experiment in Sweden has shown that elderly people have the same physiological and emotional responses when exploring a desktop digital twin of a care home as they do when exploring the actual building.
Researchers say it shows that digital twins can be be used to test designs of social and healthcare facilities to make them more conducive to people’s health and wellbeing.
Eighteen volunteers including 10 people aged 65 and over and eight care-home staff explored part of a newly built care home in Stockholm while wearing eye-tracking glasses and galvanic skin response sensors to measure emotions. After the visit, they completed a State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) questionnaire, used to diagnose anxiety.
Then they explored a 360º desktop digital model of the same part of the care home while wearing the same sensing technology, completing the STAI questionnaire afterward.
An analysis of the results showed nearly identical, high “pleasant scores” for the volunteers in the real-life setting and in the virtual stting.
The study was initiated by Spinview, a London-based digital twin start-up, and overseen by neuroscientist Dr. Katarina Gospic.
“The beauty of this study is that it has great application to society,” Gospic said. “Desktop digital twins are a cheap scalable method that can be used to understand people’s emotional perception of a space, providing a tool for architects, designers, real estate planners and other professionals, allowing them to get data early on to drive the basis for decision making when designing a new space – which could really improve the way we design spaces to boost health.”
Developer NREP supported the study, which took place in October 2022. Technology firm Tobii supplied the eye-tracking glasses.