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Virtual Reality Automotive Lab Development
A Virtual Reality application was developed to be used as an immersive virtual learning strategy for Oculus Rift S Virtual Reality glasses and through Leap Motion Controller™ infrared sensors, focused on students of the Automotive Systems Engineering academic program, as a practical teaching-learning tool in the context of Education 4.0 and the pandemic caused by COVID-19 that has kept schools closed since March 2020. The technological pillars of Industry 4.0 were used to profile students so that they can meet the demands of their professional performance at the industrial level. Virtual Reality (VR) plays a very important role for the production-engineering sector in areas such as design and autonomous cars, as well as in training and driving courses. The VR application provides the student with a more immersive and interactive experience, supported by 3D models of both the main parts that make up the four-stroke combustion engine and the mechanical workshop scenario; it allows the student to manipulate the main parts of the four-stroke combustion engine through the Oculus Rift S controls and the Leap Motion Controller™ infrared sensors, and relate them to the operation of the engine, through the animation of its operation and the additional information shown for each part that makes it up in the application.
2. Virtual Reality Automotive Lab for Students
This paper shows the development and evaluation of the Virtual Reality application that presents in an interactive and immersive way, with the help of the lenses and controls of the Oculus Rift S and Leap Motion Controller™, to learn about the operation of the four-stroke engine through animation and the assembly and disassembly of its main pieces. Test results, reflected in the questionnaires applied to the students who used the Virtual Laboratory, were favorable, and the comments made when using both devices were very positive, demonstrating that the purpose for which the immersive Virtual Reality application was developed fulfills its target. Therefore, we can conclude that this application provides users with a more immersive experience, especially in the case of virtual interaction with the help of the Oculus Rift S, which allows the user to move with greater freedom within the virtual stage and the physical space, in which the way that virtual hands of the student interact through the controls of the Virtual Reality glasses with the 3D virtual models is not limited, as it is in the case of the Leap Motion Controller™, which is limited by the field of vision of the infrared sensors. This virtual application aims to familiarize the student with what the main parts of a four-stroke engine are, how they work, and how they are assembled and disassembled; it is also interactive, since, if the student wants to learn more about each engine part, they can display additional information for the selected part. This application has an interactive tutorial and allows the student to have an immersive practice in a virtual setting similar to the automotive workshop, where the practice is usually carried out in person. In the case of schools that do not have equipped workshops for each student to carry out the practice, this application allows them to experiment in a more immersive way and also allows them to have practice prior to visiting the automotive workshop to carry out a face-to-face practice with a four-stroke engine. This application can be scaled to have more modules within the Virtual Laboratory.
The advance in the development of new technologies has enormous potential in the field of education and its links with Industry 4.0. We learn more from hands-on experiences than from traditional classes and frequently referenced two-dimensional materials. Education must gradually adapt to the health conditions that we are experiencing due to the pandemic caused by COVID-19 to improve and facilitate student learning and ensure their adaptation to the work environment. The development and implementation of these virtual immersive teaching-learning tools in the academic training of automotive engineering students will allow them to be profiled towards what they will find in their professional performance at an industrial level, where Virtual Reality plays a very important role in design, autonomous cars, training, and driving.
The entry is from 10.3390/su13179776
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