Virtual Reality (VR) systems provide new modes of human computer interaction that can support several industrial design applications improving time savings, reducing prototyping costs, and supporting the identification of design errors before production. Enhancing the interaction between humans and virtual prototypes by involving multiple sensorial modalities, VR can be adopted to perform ergonomic analysis. The main problems deal with the evaluation both of functional and cognitive sample users behavior as VR interfaces influence the perception of the ergonomic human factors. We state that ergonomic analysis performed in virtual environment can be successful only if supported with a structured protocol for the study both of functional and cognitive aspects and with the proper VR technologies combination that answers to the specific analysis tasks. An ergonomic analysis protocol is presented. It allows the assessment of the consumers’ response in term of behavioral and cognitive human factors, comprehending both operational and emotional agents. The protocol is also used to identify the best combination of visualization and haptic interfaces to perform the analysis. An experimental example, belonging to house appliances field is adopted to investigate the application of the protocol in the virtual set up.

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