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Measuring the Student's Success Rate Using a Constraint Based Multi-modal Virtual Assembly Environment

Abstract. Personnel Training is considered as the most important prerequisite in the assembly operations of any kind of equipment/apparatus ranging from simple nut-bolt assembly to complex equipment (e.g., aircraft engine) assembly. This paper presents a novel Virtual Reality Training System (VRTS) for the constraint based assembly of a 3phase step down transformer. The ARToolKit [1] markers are used for interaction with the VRTS. The system improves the technical skills of students in the real assembly environment. The analysis shows that the average success rate of untrained students is 35.7% while that of trained students increased to 81.5%.

Keyword: Virtual assembly environment

1 Introduction

Virtual Reality (VR) technology appears to be the most dominant learning tool due to its distinctive scientific nature which can be used to model real or non-real situations by using artificial, extremely interactive 3 dimensional (3D) worlds [2]. Virtual reality learning environment are more useful than traditional blackboard teaching methodology where knowledge acquisition takes place due to the exchange of technical interactions with other people or systems. The use of VR in education is a great branch in teaching techniques with different forms such as virtual teaching and training, virtual labs, and virtual schools after multimedia, computer, and cyberspace [3]. One of the most critical cause of the limited use of VR in school education is the unaffordable cost [4] [5]. The cost of availability, establishment, and maintenance of highly immersive systems and related devices prevent the large scale use of this technology [6]. Low level instruction design of virtual teaching environments is another concern [5] [7] [8].

In developing countries engineering universities and polytechnic institutes are following traditional teaching methodology. In traditional techniques, teachers follow textbooks, chalk and board, and 2D drawings for teaching. These techniques fail to represent the real world phenomena's and facts. Furthermore there is a lack of student's interest in these teaching techniques.

This paper addresses the development of a desktop based 3D Virtual Reality Training System (VRTS) for students of polytechnic institutes/colleges. This system guides students in the assembly of a 3Phase step-down power transformer. VRTS is a multi-modal user friendly 3D virtual environment that allows users to improve their learning process in an interactive manner with reasonably low cost. The interaction includes free navigation, object selection and manipulation in the virtual environment. This interaction is achieved through ARToolKit markers based on its visibility and movement. During interaction with the system the user is given multi-modal (Audio-Textual) information about a particular object such as its name, properties and functions. The objectives of the development of VRTS are the following:

– To study the effect of VRTS on students' learning of the theoretical aspects of technical education.

– The effect of VRTS in technical skills acquisition.

– The applicability of skills acquired through VRTS in real situation.

The rest of the paper is organized as: section 2 describes related work, section 3 presents VRTS, section 4 presents experiments and evaluation and section 5 describes result analysis. Finally in section 6 conclusion and future work is described.

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