Skip to main content
Log in

Towards the development of a virtual environment-based training system for mechanical assembly operations

  • Original Article
  • Published:
Virtual Reality Aims and scope Submit manuscript


In this paper, we discuss the development of Virtual Training Studio (VTS), a virtual environment-based training system that allows training supervisors to create training instructions and allows trainees to learn assembly operations in a virtual environment. Our system is mainly focused on the cognitive side of training so that trainees can learn to recognize parts, remember assembly sequences, and correctly orient the parts during assembly operations. Our system enables users to train using the following three training modes: (1) Interactive Simulation, (2) 3D Animation, and (3) Video. Implementing these training modes required us to develop several new system features. This paper presents an overview of the VTS system and describes a few main features of the system. We also report user test results that show how people train using our system. The user test results indicate that the system is able to support a wide variety of training preferences and works well to support training for assembly operations.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12
Fig. 13
Fig. 14
Fig. 15
Fig. 16
Fig. 17
Fig. 18
Fig. 19
Fig. 20
Fig. 21

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Overall 35 subjects participated in the study. Five users did not complete study due to motion sickness. Hence the data for these five subjects was discarded. We only used data for 30 subjects who successfully completed the study.


  • Abe N, Zhang JY, Tanaka K, Taki H (1996) A training system using virtual machines for teaching assembling/disassembling operations to novices. In: Proceedings of IEEE international conference on systems man and cybernetics, 1996, pp 2096–2101

  • Banerjee A, Cecil J (2003) A virtual reality based decision support framework for manufacturing simulation. In: Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (Paper CIE-48296), Chicago, Illinois, September 2003

  • Chu RW, Mitchell CM, Jones PM (1995) Using the operator function model and ofmspert as the basis for an intelligent tutoring system: towards a tutor/aid paradigm for operators of supervisory control systems. IEEE Trans Syst Man Cybern 25(7):1054–1075

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Duffy VG, Wu FF, Ng P (2003) Development of an internet virtual layout system for improving workplace safety. Comput Ind 50(2):207–230

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gamberini L, Cottone P, Spagnolli A, Varotto D, Mantovani G (2003) Responding to a fire emergency in a virtual environment: different patterns of action for different situations. Ergonomics 46(8):842–858

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gupta R, Whitney D, Zeltzer D (1997) Prototyping and design for assembly analysis using multi-modal virtual environments. Comput Aided Des 29(8):585–597

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hodges M (1998) Virtual reality in training. Comput Graph World 21(8)

  • Jayaram U, Tirumali H, Jayaram S (2000) A tool/part/human interaction model for assembly in virtual environments. Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, Baltimore, MD, September 2000

  • Jayaram U, Jayaram S, DeChenne C, Jun Kim Y (2004) Case studies using immersive virtual assembly in industry. Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, Salt Lake City, UT, September 2004

  • Keehner MM, Tendick F, Meng MV, Anwar HP, Hegarty M, Stoller ML, Duh QY (2004) Spatial ability, experience, and skill in laparoscopic surgery. Am J Surg 188(1):71–75

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kim C, Vance J (2003) Using vps (voxmap pointshell) as the basis for interaction in a virtual assembly environment. Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, Chicago, Illinois, September 2003

  • Koedinger KR, Aleven V, Heffernan N, McLaren B, Hockenberry M (2004) Opening the door to non-programmers: authoring intelligent tutor behaviour by demonstration. Lect Notes Comput Sci 3220:162–174

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mikchevitch A, Leon JC, Gouskov A (2003) Numerical modelling of flexible components for assembly path planning using a virtual reality environment. Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, Chicago, Illinois, September 2003

  • Morris D, Sewell C, Blevins N, Barbagli F, Salisbury K (2004) A collaborative virtual environment for the simulation of temporal bone surgery. Medical image computing and computer-assisted intervention. Springer Lect Notes Comput Sci 3217:319–327

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Munro A, Towne DM (1992) Productivity tools for simulation-centered training development. Educ Technol Res Dev 40(4):65–80

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Paiva A, Machado I (1998) Vincent: an autonomous pedagogical agent for on-the-job training. Proc Lect Notes Comput Sci 1452:584–593

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Peng X, Chi X, Ochoa JA, Leu MC (2003) Bone surgery simulation with virtual reality. Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, Chicago, Illinois, September 2003

  • Rickel J, Johnson WL (1999) Animated agents for procedural training in virtual reality: perception, cognition and motor control. Appl Artif Intell 13(4–5):343–382

    Google Scholar 

  • Ritchie JM, Dewar RG, Simmons J (1999) The generation and practical use of plans for manual assembly using immersive virtual reality. Proc Inst Mech Eng J Eng Manuf 213(5):461–474

    Google Scholar 

  • Stroud KJ, Harm DL, Klaus DM (2005) Preflight virtual reality training as a countermeasure for space motion sickness and disorientation. Aviat Space Environ Med 76(4):352–356

    Google Scholar 

  • Tendick F, Downes M, Goktekin T, Cavusoglu MC, Feygin D, Wu XL, Eyal R, Hegarty M, Way LW (2000) A virtual environment testbed for training laparoscopic surgical skills. Presence Teleoperators Virtual Environ 9(3):236–255

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wan H, Gao S, Peng Q, Dai G, Zhang F (2004) MIVAS: a multi-modal immersive virtual assembly system. Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, Salt Lake City, UT, September 2004

Download references


This research is supported in parts by the Center for Energetic Concepts Development at the University of Maryland and Naval Surface Warfare Center at Indian Head.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Satyandra K. Gupta.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Brough, J.E., Schwartz, M., Gupta, S.K. et al. Towards the development of a virtual environment-based training system for mechanical assembly operations. Virtual Reality 11, 189–206 (2007).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: