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2 Related Work

Immersive virtual reality technology is widely in use since 1960. ”Sinsorama” was the first single user console system used in entertainment to capture spectators' attention. It also had the ability to use different human senses to provide the illusion of reality [9]. The use of VR in teaching and training began in 1980 [10]. In 1990's the scope of VR extended to educational projects such as Science Space, Safety World, Global Change, Virtual Gorilla Exhibit, Atom World, and Cell Biology [11]. Currently the use of VR in education is an active research area.

Ng et al. [12] have developed a virtual environment which helps users in cable routing and designing in electro-mechanical products. Head Mounted Display (HMD) was used for display and 3D mouse for interaction. The system is immersive in nature, but the high cost of HMD and 3D mouse limits its applicability in education. Angelov et al. [13] have presented a computer generated 3D virtual training system. The system was used for training and learning about power system operation to its workers. A 2D Mouse is used for interaction with no 3D navigation in the environment.

Wang et al. [14] have made a math learning virtual environment system which helps students to understand mathematical concepts. Menus and 2D buttons are used for interaction with environment. Here 2D mouse and keyboard are used for interaction. Pasqualotti et al. [15] developed mathematical representations for modeling buildings and virtual city. The system uses 2D mouse for interaction and there is a lack of free navigation in the environment.

Real Time Relativity (RTR) presented by Savage et al. [16] is a 3D simulation software for physics that provides interactive game-based experience. There is no direct interaction with objects. Kaufmann et al. [17] designed the PhysicsPlayground, an Augmented Reality application. It was a real time 3D virtual environment for physics experiments in the area of mechanics. The system used costly HMD for display, a wireless pen and a Personal Interaction Panel (PIP) for interaction. Dede et al. [18] have developed an immersive 3D virtual environment for physics education. The environment contains virtual objects and students can perform experiments on these objects. This system used (HMD) for display, 3Ball or stylus for interaction which makes the environment highly expensive. Loftin et al. [19] developed a physics based virtual laboratory where students could observe the virtual environment as well as the virtual object's properties. The system also used a head mounted color stereoscopic Silicon Graphics 4DD20VGX display, a 3D auditory system, a hand gestures obtaining system (hand glove) and a Polhemus (magnetic position and orientation system) for observing user eye's direction, head and hand position. The use of specialized devices makes the system complex, costly and unaffordable in real situations.

Virtual Radioactivity Laboratory (VRT) developed by Crosier et al. [20] for teaching the radioactivity in secondary school level. A comparison is also made between VR with traditional teaching methodology. The system used 2D mouse to perform different tasks. Zhang et al. [21] designed a multisensory feedback Virtual Assembly Environment (VAE), in order to assess the user efficiency, satisfaction and consistency. The system used Trimension's V-Desk 6, highly immersive L-shaped workbench, shutter glasses and infrared emitter, and Wand for interaction. The system can't be adopted in education due its high cost and complex nature. Yao et al. [22] presented an immersive virtual assembly planning and training system (I-VAPTS) in order to train and guide workers in a pump assembly process. Data glove and 3D mouse were used for interaction and HMD for display. The system cost was very high. According to Bryson [23], the complications associated with glove devices are imprecise measurements and need of standard gestural lexis.

Dunne et al. [24] presented the Pulse!! The Virtual Clinical Learning Lab for teaching and training in medical education. Using mouse and keyboard user could navigate in the environment. The environment was 3D but used 2D mouse and keyboard for interaction. The system could provide only textual information about the patient. Virtual Body Structures-Auxiliary Teaching System (VBS-ATS) designed by Huang et al. [25] is an interactive Web-based 3D system for teaching human physiology in medical. It provides two versions i.e. desktop for single user and projection-based VR for multiple users. User could navigate in the environment, rotate, and zoom in and out the objects. A 3D ear model of the central and inside of the ear is presented by Nicholson et al. [26]. The model is 3D in nature but interaction with it is carried out using the 2D mouse. There is no interaction with the individual parts of the ear. The system gives only the textual information to the user.

Mikropoulos et al. [27] presented the creation and assessment of 3D biological virtual learning environment. Here traditional 2D Mouse is used for interaction. In Shima et al. [28] 3D Webmaster software (3DWS) is used for the development of Virtual Reality Biology Simulations (VRBS) program. The system is used to educate middle school students. The VRBS studies the structure and working of eye. Here keyboard is the only way of interaction. Bakas et al. [29] created a learning environment to educate the students about the universe and planets. This system doesn't support 3D interaction with objects, all is made through mouse and menus.

The devices used for interaction with these systems have many problems such as cost, availability, weight and size, need of electric charge, cabling and space constraints. Also most of the existing systems are not the virtual worlds but the simulation software. This paper presents a realistic 3D virtual environment called VRTS that uses ARToolKit marker for interaction. The ARToolKit markers are printed patterns (see Fig. 1) that can work as low cost, flexible and real-time positional and orientation input device.

Fig. 1. ARToolKit markers' patterns

Marker has many advantages, such as tracking in 3D space, fast detection, wireless nature, can be used anywhere and need not be built into objects, wide range of movements and styles of interactions, no hardware cost, easy calibration, and supported by specific software [30].

 
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