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2 Literature Review

This section presents the literature review which is related to the development of virtual chemistry laboratories.

The Virtual Reality Undergraduate Projects Laboratory (VRUPL) is a 3D virtual chemistry environment developed for the training purposes of undergraduate students. VRUPL enables students to learn that what apparatuses will be used and what will be their proper assembly in a particular experiment. In addition students are guided about how to take various safety measures while working in real chemistry labs both in industrial and educational settings. Although the environment is helpful for learning safety principles but not suitable for traditional teaching where it is important to learn that how a particular experiment is done in actual [8].

Similarly VRAL (Virtual Reality Accidents Laboratory) is another 3D webbased virtual chemistry lab developed for the training of undergraduate chemical engineering students to learn how to safeguard themselves from accidents in chemical laboratories setups [9].

At Charles Sturt University a virtual chemistry laboratory has been developed. The main objective of this environment is to make the students familiar with real laboratory environment. It allows a student to know about the procedure of an experiment and assembling of various apparatus. The main limitation of this environment is its inability to simulate any chemical reaction [10].

Virtual ChemLab is a part of Y science laboratories developed by the Brigham Young University. ChemLab allows a student to select a chemical product and see its various properties like molecule structure, color etc. In addition, movie metaphor is used to simulate a chemical reaction. Evaluation of the ChemLab showed that the environment was helpful for students to improve their exams scores and the capability of problem solving [11].

An online virtual chemistry laboratory system is developed by Oxford University England for harmonizing their first year undergraduate teaching. This system contains a number of chemical reactions experiments in the form of video clips. The user can view the video clips by selecting two reactants. In this system the user can repeat the reaction many times. The system was also suitable for users to learn about the safety rules during the experiments in the real laboratory. The system was suitable for undergraduate students and was very less interactive environment due to video clips [12].

The iVirtualWorld is a web-based environment where various 3D objects required for an experiment are selected from2D menus using traditional mouse based interaction. Similarly different properties of the selected object are also set using 2D graphical user interface (GUI), which makes the environment less realistic and hence it becomes difficult to achieve more immersion of the user [2]. The above related works stated that the previous virtual chemistry labora-

tories were developed in a way that user can identify and select the chemicals but there were no multimodality (textual and audio information) system to know about the physical and chemical properties of chemicals and apparatuses. Besides this interaction with previous laboratories was possible only through keyboard and mouse and resultantly they were less realistic and immersive.

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