Title page for ETD etd-11282006-154545

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Boe, Maria
Author's Email Address boe@vt.edu
URN etd-11282006-154545
Title Utilizing Visual Illusions To Identify and Understand Perceptual Discrepancies in Product Design
Degree Master of Science
Department Mechanical Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bohn, Jan Helge Committee Chair
Anderl, Reiner Committee Co-Chair
Sturges, Robert H. Committee Member
  • Product development
  • Perception
  • Visual illusion
  • Shape recognition
Date of Defense 2006-11-14
Availability unrestricted
There are often discrepancies in how a product is perceived in different representation media employed in typical product development processes. The first goal of this research project was to determine how visual illusions influence a designer's perception of a product across three representations: industrial design sketches, computer aided design (CAD) models, and physical prototypes (FDM rapid prototyping). A visualization experiment was conducted in which participants were asked to report how they perceived the shape and size of certain features, representing two types of illusions across the three model representations. Their statements were analyzed to identify the trends of how these two illusions affect overall appearance, categorized by representation type and the users' backgrounds (i.e., specialization and years of experience). The participants included students and professionals with various levels of engineering and industrial design experience. The analysis shows that there are differences in how designers see models depending on the representation media, and to some degree depending on the participants' professional background. The second goal was to explore the process of identifying such illusions automatically during the design process. In this regard, a discussion on how to implement the results from the visualization experiment is presented. Emphasis is on the potential development of a tool in CAD systems that would identify illusory effects and subsequently suggest potential design solutions. The possibility of using spectral analysis (fast Fourier transform) for an automated shape recognition capability in CAD systems is discussed.
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