Ritchie, J.M. and Lim, T. and Sung, R.C.W. and Corney, J.R. and Rea, H. (2007) The Analysis of design and manufacturing tasks using haptic and immersive VR - Some case studies. In: 2nd Advanced study institute on product engineering tools and methods based on virtual reality, 2007-05-30 - 2007-06-06, Chania, Creete.
The use of virtual reality in interactive design and manufacture has been researched extensively but the practical application of this technology in industry is still very much in its infancy. This is surprising as one would have expected that, after some 30 years of research commercial applications of interactive design or manufacturing planning and analysis would be widespread throughout the product design domain. One of the major but less well known advantages of VR technology is that logging the user gives a great deal of rich data which can be used to automatically generate designs or manufacturing instructions, analyse design and manufacturing tasks, map engineering processes and, tentatively, acquire expert knowledge. The authors feel that the benefits of VR in these areas have not been fully disseminated to the wider industrial community and - with the advent of cheaper PC-based VR solutions - perhaps a wider appreciation of the capabilities of this type of technology may encourage companies to adopt VR solutions for some of their product design processes. With this in mind, this paper will describe in detail applications of haptics in assembly demonstrating how user task logging can lead to the analysis of design and manufacturing tasks at a level of detail not previously possible as well as giving usable engineering outputs. The haptic 3D VR study involves the use of a Phantom and 3D system to analyse and compare this technology against real-world user performance. This work demonstrates that the detailed logging of tasks in a virtual environment gives considerable potential for understanding how virtual tasks can be mapped onto their real world equivalent as well as showing how haptic process plans can be generated in a similar manner to the conduit design and assembly planning HMD VR tool reported in PART A. The paper concludes with a view as to how the authors feel that the use of VR systems in product design and manufacturing should evolve in order to enable the industrial adoption of this technology in the future.
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