Date Approved

12-31-2008

Embargo Period

3-21-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.S. in Engineering

Department

Electrical & Computer Engineering

College

Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering

First Advisor

Mandayam, Shreekanth

Subject(s)

Virtual reality in engineering; Visualization

Disciplines

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Abstract

The focus of this thesis is the study and recommendation of optimal techniques for developing immersive virtual environments for generic applications. The overarching objective is to ensure that virtual environments can be created and deployed, rapidly and accurately, using commercial off-the-shelf software. Specific subjective and objective criteria have been employed to determine trade-offs between multiple pathways for designing such environments and specific recommendations are made for the applicability of each. The efficacy of the techniques developed as part of this research work has been demonstrated by applying them to three widely differing areas - visualizing arbitrary 2D surface data, synthesis of particle aggregate models from computed tomography and simulation of NASA rocket engine test stands.

The objectives of this thesis were obtained by an examination of the current algorithms and software in use for the development of virtual environments. From these currently used methods, general methods were defined. The expansion of these general methods to include the inputs and situations of common applications, allowed for the development of methods for real-world examples. Results were obtained by evaluating these methods against defined measurement criteria. These criteria measured the effectiveness of these methods for increasing the value of virtual reality, while reducing the cost.

In this thesis, two virtual environment platforms (vGeo® and Vizard®) were used to develop three applications. These applications were a surface plot, particle visualizations and test stand simulations. In most cases, the results found the open-ended Vizard® to be the better platform. vGeo®, a platform designed for data visualization, worked well for basic data visualization, but was not as effective as Vizard® for developing more complex visualization. This thesis found that in most cases, an open-ended development platform, with functionality for rapid development is ideal. These methods and evaluations can be applied to a more diverse set of application and datasets to build development platforms that are even more efficient.

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