Desk-Top Virtual Reality for Teaching of Steel Structures

M.E. Haque and R. Chanda (USA)


Visualization, Virtual, 3D, VRML, Virtual Reality, Steel Structure, Construction


Construction industry in today’s world is becoming enormously complex as project sizes are increasing and project durations are decreasing. This shift in the trend of projects has primarily occurred due to the ushering of the information technology (IT). But the construction industry has unfortunately been unable to keep up with the fast changing IT environment. In construction education, classroom teaching still remains the preferred mode of teaching. Complex designs and details developed by designers in today’s world make it imperative to use physical models for better understanding. Such is true in the case on steel structures where steel joint details can be very complex, and raster 2D and 3D drawings become inadequate as teaching tools. The new information age has brought in concepts like virtual reality. Desktop or immersive virtual reality can be used for better understanding of such complex designs. This paper is on the development of a tool, which shows the construction process of a framed steel structure in a 3D virtual space. Further typical steel joints in the structure are projected in a desktop virtual real space using VRML, where the user can rotate, zoom or pan the 3D detail for better understanding. The user interface for the tool is in HTML and is web compatible, which makes it a valuable aid not only in teaching in the classroom but also an effective self-directed tool for open learning via the web.

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