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research-article

Effectiveness of an Immersive Virtual Environment for Collaboration with Gesture Support Using Low-Cost Hardware

[+] Author and Article Information
Josh Coburn

Graduate Research Assistant, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 84602
jqcoburn@byu.edu

John Salmon

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 84602
johnsalmon@byu.edu

Ian Freeman

Graduate Research Assistant, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 84602
ifreeman@byu.edu

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4039006 History: Received May 24, 2017; Revised January 08, 2018

Abstract

Since the advent of modern computer-aided design software, engineers have been divorced from the highly collaborative environment previously enjoyed. Today's highly complex designs require modern software tools and the realities of a global economy often constrain engineers to remote collaboration. These conditions often make it impractical to collaborate locally around physical models. Various approaches to creating new collaboration tools and software which alleviate these issues have been tried previously. However, past solutions either used expensive hardware, which is not widely available, or used standard 2D monitors to share 3D information. Recently, new low-cost virtual reality hardware has been introduced which creates a highly immersive 3D experience at a tiny fraction of the cost of previous hardware. This work demonstrates an immersive collaborative environment built using this cost effective system which allows users to view, gesture, and collaborate around virtual models as if collaborating locally around a physical model. A study of the virtual environment compared to traditional video conferencing software is also presented which shows time savings of up to 45% while also increasing communication accuracy. It is expected that as this VR hardware proliferates, immersive collaborative environments, such as the one presented here, will provide significant benefits over current systems.

Copyright (c) 2018 by ASME
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