Modern Technologies in Acoustics and Lighting Teaching and Practice
With the promise that new technologies, and in particular smartphones and virtual reality, may make everyday life easier, numerous apps have been created over the last years for the architectural lighting and acoustic assessments of buildings. This trend opens new opportunities for teaching acoustics and lighting. Meanwhile, the possibilities of augmented and virtual reality are still largely unexplored. The pedagogical aim of exploring new pedagogical approach is to allow students to engage beyond the traditional building physics approach to these subjects and to get a better quantitative and experiential understanding of light and sound parameters. First, the possibility of massive use of auralization is described. Then, the present paper discusses some opportunities for introducing building acoustics and lighting assessments through apps in both courses and architectural studios. The goal is to support experiential learning opportunities for concepts such as the warmth or the enveloping of a space from both an acoustic and lighting perspective. Many questions raised from the first few years of experiences in using smartphone apps are discussed. Comparing different apps on the same or on different smartphones resulted in significant fluctuations in the observed quantities. Since illuminance or sound levels were better detected with professional tools than by smartphones, several challenges of using these apps are discussed. Knowing the limits of current smartphone apps, this paper reflects on how much apps could be integrated into both university teaching and practice approaches. The experience confirmed that smartphone apps cannot yet replace professional measurement tools, while there is evidence about the benefits that modern technologies and in particular virtual reality, can provide to architectural acoustic and lighting teaching and practice.