In the Sensory Lab no realistic test environment can be achieved, therefore the external validity of the data from prototype testing is very low.
In the senory lab it is possible to controll the most test variables therefore the internal validity is very high. The test environment is artificial therefore the external validity is very low.
Test sessions of prototypes take place in a standardized sensory labs. The participant sits isolated in individual test both to evaluate the products due to the questionnaire provided on computer screen.
Testing of prototyps in the real world (e.g. Home-Use-Test or fast food restaurant) leads to a very low internal validity because many variables can not be controlled (such as temperature and habit of consumption).
Boost Product Testing by using XR
The use of Virtual Reality and Augmented Virtuality in the Sensory Lab makes the test environment for product tests more realistic in order to increase external validity while simultaneously maintain a high internal validity.
Some examples of XR in Product Testing:
Product testing in a Virtual Reality (VR)
The subjects interact with the product (e.g. drinking an iced coffee) while using VR glasses to immerse a test context appropriate to the stimulus (e.g., relaxing in a coffee bar –> 360°captured environment).
Since the test is performed in the sensory lab, all relevant context variables (e.g., stimulus and room temperature, etc.) can be kept constant, ensuring high internal validity.
As the test person immerse into a suitable test environment during the product test, the external validity can be increased in comparison to the classical laboratory situation.
Product Testing in an Augmented Virtuality (AV)
Augmented Reality applications provide through a AR Lens the ability to integrate real prototypes into virtual environments to ensure a realistic assessment situation. While evaluating the real product, a selected virtual world is overlaid on the real test environment.
Particularly advantageous to VR: Participants see the real test product and can easily interact with it during the test (e.g., drink from a cup).