Virtual Assembly


Goal: Investigate and implement VR technologies in assembly planning and assembly evaluation.

Uniqueness & Innovation: WSU’s world renowned activities in this area focus on tight integration of virtual reality technologies with traditional CAD/CAM systems used by engineers for virtual assembly.  The methods, algorithms, physics-based modeling, and interaction capabilities created by the VRCIM Laboratory at WSU use innovative combinations of constraints-based modeling, collision detection, geometric modeling, ergonomics, CAD algorithms, and physics. Many of these pioneering capabilities are built completely within the CAD system or at least support bi-directional data transfer between the CAD system and the virtual assembly system. 

Featured Projects


VADE (Virtual Assembly Design Environment)

VADE is a Virtual Reality (VR) based engineering application which allows engineers to plan, analyze, and evaluate the assembly of mechanical systems. VADE was designed and implemented at Washington State University in collaboration with NIST.This system provides an immersive virtual environment tightly coupled with commercial Computer Aided Design (CAD) systems.

Case Studies in Industry

We report on two engineering case studies that have been conducted as part of a Virtual Assembly Technology Consortium. The objectives of the case studies were to determine if immersive virtual assembly capabilities allow industry assembly situations to be modelled and studies realistically and to demonstrate the downstream value of the virtual assembly capabilities.

Constraint-Based Virtual Assembly

In this project we look at methods and algorithms to achieve constrained motion simulation in a virtual assembly environment by using geometric constraints. 

Physically Based Modeling

Physically based modeling issues in virtual assembly are investigated. The specific requirements and characteristics of physically based modeling in virtual assembly versus those in traditional computer graphics are analyzed and studied.

Crane-Based Functionality

In collaboration with Komatsu, Japan, a module has been developed for virtual assembly systems allowing them to more realistically simulate heavy machinery assembly. The module provides a virtual overhead crane for manipulating heavy assembly components and physically based motion of components attached to the crane. . 


Dimensional Parameter Modification in a Virtual Environment

This work presents a method to achieve bi-directional parametric data transfer between a CAD system and a virtual environment. Since CAD is the ultimate master model, data transfer between CAD systems and immersive system will be essential to ensure a serious deployment of VR methodologies. 

Collision Contact Modeling Method

This project investigates methods to model the behavior of colliding objects in virtual environments using triangle mesh representations of the objects. 

Distributed Virtual Assembly Environment using CORBA

This project presents the design and implementation of a CORBA-based distributed virtual assembly environment. The architecture is based on capturing key states and events in the virtual assembly process. Several finite states, state variables, and state changes of a typical immersive virtual assembly system are formalized and this formalization is used to create a client-server architecture based on CORBA for collaborative desgin.

Collaborative Assembly With Multiple Users

The idea of a collaborative and distributed VR system is to have a simulated world that runs not on one computer system, but on different computers. The computers are connected over a network and people using those computers are able to interact in real time, sharing the same virtual world. The challenge is in an architecture to couple the immersive environment with a framework to facilitate the collaborative effort.

VRCIM, PO Box 642920, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-2920, 509-335-1900, Contact Us