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Utilization of Immersive Collaborative Student Laboratory Simulations Developed Using a Game Engine

[+] Author Affiliations
Chenghung P. Chang, Felipe Arango, Dror Kodman, Sven K. Esche, Constantin Chassapis

Stevens Institute of Technology

Paper No. IMECE2006-14532, pp. 253-258; 6 pages
  • ASME 2006 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Innovations in Engineering Education: Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, November 5 – 10, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4781-0 | eISBN: 0-7918-3790-4
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME


Recently, commercial game engines and the associated software development kits have reached a level of maturity where it becomes feasible to rapidly and efficiently develop and deploy software for generating virtual environments. This paper will discuss the various possible ways of developing interactive multiplayer simulations for student laboratory instruction and professional training. Instead of developing software from the ground up, an existing commercial game engine and its corresponding software development kit (SDK) can be used as development tools for building such educational content. In doing so, the developers can take advantage of the game engines' advanced methods for generating animated graphics, simulating physical interactions between 3D objects, as well as facilitating multiplayer dynamics. Based on this approach, various usage scenarios can be developed cost-effectively. These can then be explored by the students or trainees in an inherently safe and immersive manner. Furthermore, the educational content can be tailored to address the students' different learning modalities. A number of predefined scenarios can be constructed, which exercise the students' problem solving skills by mimicking typical problems that might occur when carrying out actual hands-on experiments. In addition, the experimental scripts imbedded within the system allow one to monitor - and possibly even enforce - active participation and collaboration by all students of a laboratory group, which are considered two crucial factors in improving learning. This multi-disciplinary research is being carried out at Stevens Institute of Technology (SIT) with funding from a multi-year grant by the National Science Foundation's Information Technology Research program.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME



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