Abstract

A research area of interest is that one concerning the design of solutions for improving the life conditions of users in extreme environmental situations. An example is the spacecraft environment, where astronauts are subject to particular conditions, due to the extreme environment. The isolated and confined environment influences behaviors and perceptions. This situation can impact both on astronauts’ moods, cause states of depression, and impact on their performance in working activities. A spacecraft can be the Space Station orbiting the Earth, or future means of transportation used for travelling to other planets. In both cases the space should be designed so as to offer the best possible living and working conditions to the astronauts.

The research presented in this paper aims at designing and developing a multisensory VR system for the entertainment and the relaxation of astronauts. The use of VR technology allows us to overcome physical and psychological boundaries of the confined space, which is typical in a spacecraft environment. The sense of smell, which is more linked to visceral emotions than the other senses and can affect various aspects of humans’ physiological and psychological conditions, is used to improve astronauts’ productivity and concentration, and also to relieve their stress and anxiety.

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