DS 123: Proceedings of the International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2023)

Year: 2023
Editor: Buck, Lyndon; Grierson, Hilary; Bohemia, Erik
Author: Berglund, Anders
Series: E&PDE
Institution: Mälardalen University, Sweden
Section: Responsible innovation in design and engineering education
DOI number: 10.35199/EPDE.2023.60
ISBN: 978-1-912254-19-4


With the rapid improvements and efforts made to improve ways to utilize eXtended Reality (XR) this paper looks at how sustainability considerations to XR are affecting the design process. Although internationalization is one of many advantages of XR, higher education research repeatedly recalls and builds upon local use-cases rather than more global interconnected alternatives. Many universities are currently developing their digital capabilities where XR is an enabler for various educational purposes. Although many learning examples are built around an authentic and local practice, the global possibilities of interceded activities using multiple variations of XR (i.e. VR, AR or MR) are rare. It is arguably important to establish more interconnected set of use-cases in order to excel this technology practice. Also, past methodological considerations have also been presented through guided design steps once working with elements of XR. This paper, however, concentrate on the need for a XR scrutinizing process of sustainability. Addressing international collaboration, use and practices of team-based design processes are looked at to see the effect XR can have direct and indirect on sustainability's three pillars of environmental, economic and social concern. A qualitative exploration using AR and VR experiments, and interviews with groups of design students, expert-users and solution-providers. All cases investigated are characterized by internationalization, involving multiple nodes, (e.g. partnering companies and universities). The paper is built on insights from several international co-design projects and looks in detail at how design aspects are emphasized on activity-level, and by also uncovering involved activities. The aim is to explore how digital enabled design using XR can be presented from a sustainability point-of-view. Rather than looking at output of a use-case scenario, the process of how to reach there, is at focal point. What is referred to as the Open XR runtime standards are currently extending the possibilities between hardware and software interoperability, which can potentially increase XR sustainability by making the technology more accessible. By identifying and exploring remote design processes, collaborations that utilize a mix of technological platforms is looked at and how interaction of XR practices and processes affect aspects like internationalization and interconnectedness. With a growing number of students, professional workers and companies trying to benefit and excel from new remote-working norms, a better understanding is needed to support distributed and sustained XR collaboration. Ultimately, this paper can bring more attention to how XR is practiced and how sustainability affects several digitally enabled prototyping steps and practices.

Keywords: extended reality, sustainability, internationalisation, design process


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