MU Researchers Use 3-D Technology to Help Restaurants

Related Story

COLUMBIA - For anyone dining out, the thought of waiting for a table can be a "meal-breaker." Two University of Missouri researchers conducted research using 3-D technology that could help restaurant owners with waiting times.

So-Yeon Yoon, an associate professor in MU's Department of Architectural Studies and one of the authors of the research, studied the impact of environment on behavior. She and others concluded that certain aesthetic changes could increase customer comfortability in restaurant waiting rooms; thus, making it less likely for patrons to leave while waiting on tables.

Yoon conducted her research in MU's Immersive Visualization Laboratory -- or iLab -- and instructed randomly selected participants to  navigate through 3-D interior designs. She then gauged their responses and came up with ways for restaurants to improve waiting areas:

  • Design waiting areas with angled or outward curving walls so customers can see all waiting patrons
  • Provide several waiting areas
  • Place waiting areas on different sides of the restaurant
  • Visually divide waiting space using plants or decorative elements

For the study, students and researchers designed 3-D waiting rooms using computer software. Three image projects positioned behind a special glass panel display those designs. The image is then converted so that it can been seen in 3-D and participants can be immersed within the design with the help of 3-D compatible glasses.

Bimal Balakrishnan, assistant professor of architectural studies and iLab director, helped design and construct the iLab along with undergraduate and graduate students in 2009.