An innovative world-first, virtual reality, eye-tracking and emotion-sensing technology is being developed in combination and being used to develop how passengers will navigate their way around the new HS2 station at Old Oak Common.

Challenge:

Develop efficient and stress-free “wayfinding” for the quarter of a million people who will use the new 14-platform super-hub in north west London each day.

Solutions:

A VR model of the station and pilot study with 80 participants.

Participants navigated their way around Old Oak Common to reach meeting points, platforms and to change between services using the signage included in the current design.

Eye-tracking monitors in detail how the eye is drawn around the station’s interior, and whether there are any distractions that might contradict or confuse, all of which could hamper easy and stress-free movement. 

Emotion sensing software monitors heart rate changes caused by the visual stimulus of experiencing the station in virtual reality.  


Output:

A comprehensive report focusing on confusion, stress and cognitive load with actionable feedback to improve passenger experience.


Benefits:

"The process has brought immediate benefits to the wayfinding that will be fed back into the design, and it has become apparent how this technology can help in many ways throughout the design, construction and operational stages of the station." (Kevin White, Technical Director, Stations at WSP)


Collaboration:

Development work: CCD by Design

Integration with technology: Emteq Labs

Study protocol: Emteq Labs and CCD by Design

Data Collection: Emteq Labs and CCD by Design

Data analysis and report: Emteq Labs and CCD by Design

New algorithm development and smart analytics: N/A


Next steps:

Amendment in design and signage, integration of facial expressions

Study 2 with 80 participants (Expected March 2022)

CCD Design & Ergonomics MD David Watts, said: 

“Wayfinding is an immersive, multi-sensory task. Up until now we’ve not had the tools to fully test our designs with real people at the early stages of design. Developing this tool will give the project far greater scope to get the design right while it’s all still on the drawing board."


“We are also able to explore other ways in which immersive tech can help design from improving accessibility, testing ideas for how digital technologies can assist the experience, assessing the right location for commercial units or advertising or helping staff simulate how they will operate the station.”

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