PI: Judy Vance
Funding Agency: National Science Foundation
Summary: This research will provide a template for both the development of virtual reality applications to improve product design and a process to integrate active learning techniques in the engineering classroom. Virtual reality techniques applied to product design will result in the ability to design in a fully three-dimensional design space. The design and evaluation of products can be performed on a common data base and will result in reducing the number of physical prototypes needed before production runs are scheduled. Personnel involved in the design process who are not accustomed to viewing three-dimensional models on a computer screen will be able to bring their expertise to bear early in the design process due to the advanced visualization and interaction capabilities available through the use of virtual reality. This work is needed before virtual reality can become a common design tool. Educational research shows that the implementation of active learning methods in the classroom will result in greater student learning. Using active learning techniques in the engineering classroom will increase the level of competency of all students and also create a more comfortable classroom setting for women and minority students.