Scholarly article on topic 'MotoStudent and the Web3D'

MotoStudent and the Web3D Academic research paper on "Computer and information sciences"

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Procedia Computer Science
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{"Collaboration technology and informal learning" / "Augmented and Virtual Reality" / engineering / models / CAD / Mechanical}

Abstract of research paper on Computer and information sciences, author of scientific article — Héctor Olmedo, Karle Olalde, Beñat García

Abstract In the field of engineering, the best results can be obtained if we are able to interact with our models. Customers generally want to interact with models or designs for new products, so we are developing various alternatives for visualization, such as Virtual and Augmented Realities based on accurate models with no need of using specific software. In order to have a better and global knowledge of the various possibilities, in this paper we show the situation and capabilities of these technologies. From models developed with commercial programs and tools for industrial design, we propose a workflow to give everybody a chance to interact with these models. The sectors where these technologies are applied and the services offered are grouped together in industrial production systems and learning of related disciplines. But also promotion of 3D projects over the Internet can be done. This is the case of the MotoStudent project where the work done by designers to develop 3D models can be published easily on webpages allowing fully interaction to the user with no need of installing plugins.

Academic research paper on topic "MotoStudent and the Web3D"



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Procedía Computer Science 75 (2015) 84 - 94

2015 International Conference on Virtual and Augmented Reality in Education

MotoStudent and the Web3D

Héctor Olmedoa*, Karle Olaldebf, Beñat Garcíab|

aFreelance Researcher, Bilbao 48003, Spain bUPV/EHU, Vitoria-Gasteiz 01006, Spain


In the field of engineering, the best results can be obtained if we are able to interact with our models. Customers generally want to interact with models or designs for new products, so we are developing various alternatives for visualization, such as Virtual and Augmented Realities based on accurate models with no need of using specific software. In order to have a better and global knowledge of the various possibilities, in this paper we show the situation and capabilities of these technologies. From models developed with commercial programs and tools for industrial design, we propose a workflow to give everybody a chance to interact with these models. The sectors where these technologies are applied and the services offered are grouped together in industrial production systems and learning of related disciplines. But also promotion of 3D projects over the Internet can be done. This is the case of the MotoStudent project where the work done by designers to develop 3D models can be published easily on webpages allowing fully interaction to the user with no need of installing plugins. © 2015 The Authors.PublishedbyElsevierB.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-reviewunder responsibilityoforganizing committee of the 2015 International Conference on Virtual and Augmented Reality in Education (VARE 2015)

Keywords: Collaboration technology and informal learning; Augmented and Virtual Reality; engineering; models; CAD; Mechanical

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +34617657402 E-mail address:

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +34945014138 E-mail address:

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +34945014158 E-mail address:

1877-0509 © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of organizing committee of the 2015 International Conference on Virtual and Augmented Reality in

Education (VARE 2015)


1. Introduction

In this paper we endeavor to analyze the different options we have to represent an object in Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), from 3D design programs for engineering, such as Catia [1], Solid Edge [2], Solid Works [3], AutoCAD [4], etc. Our main aim is to make product designed with Computer Aided Design (CAD) projects more accessible to potential customers and students with limited resources to buy licenses of expensive CAD software. AR [5-6] is a technology through which the vision for the user in the real world is enhanced or augmented with additional information generated from a computer model. The improvement may consist of virtual devices placed in a real environment, or the display of "non-geometric" information about real objects. AR allows the user to work with and examine real 3D objects, while receiving additional information about these objects. AR adds information to the real world of the user and allows the user to stay in touch with the real environment. This is clearly different from the VR, where the user is totally immersed in an artificial world and completely separated from the real world. In VR [7-8] systems, there is no possibility for the user to interact with objects in the real world, only with the ones in the Virtual Environment (VE). AR does allow users to interact naturally with a world that is a mixture of virtual and real. AR systems carry the computer generated elements to the real world where the user is, while VR systems make the user be immersed in a virtual world. However, such applications impose demanding requirements. Combining models actually states that these models are very accurate. This mixture requires objects that are introduced in the real scene behaving in a very realistic way. In order to achieve this reality, AR requires a very detailed description of the physical setting.

New technologies must help our students to take an active part in our classes in order that they become more involved in learning, without having to listen to endless lectures or passive PowerPoint presentations. Inductive learning must be continuous. AR is a fairly new area of Computer Graphics that also relies on other computer-related disciplines such as hardware [9], computer vision [10], sensing [11] and tracking [12]. It allows the user to view the real world with superimposed computer generated annotations and graphics. AR systems may be used by a multitude of users at the same time. This provides the opportunity for collaborative applications, such as engineering design, architecture, multi-user games, and education, among others. AR/VR can be used in education to show the students models that cannot be seen in the real world.

In the field of drawing in engineering, it can be very effective for students who wish to improve their spatial ability on the screen which makes it possible to view objects such as 3D images, which can be handled in order to rotate, scale or section them in real time. We are interested in applying AR to drawing in engineering education at university level. We are specifically interested in showing to the students' different points of view to improve their spatial capacity, thus it is important to show them in 3D, and to allow the students to move and manipulate them. The goal is for them to gain a spatial intuition of the structures, a key skill for students to understand and solve drawing in engineering such views, boundaries, sections, etc.

In this paper firstly we will introduce CAD software used for teachers and students at the University to develop 3D models. Later, a brief explanation about AR/VR and the use of them in education will be presented. The relationship between AR/VR and engineering will be fully justified describing goals, benefits and the classroom implementation. After showing first impressions the implementation for the MotoStudent project will be described. This project allows sharing of designs on the Internet with fully 3D interaction universally at very low costs because only open source software is used. So the designs will be shown on almost any connected device. As the techniques used at this project, the so called Web3D, are the basis of the future of Internet where 2D websites will be substituted by amazing 3D sites with multimodal interaction [13], X3DOM will be introduced: the supported platforms for Desktop/Laptop and Mobile devices and the workflow defined to share on the Internet the designs made by the students with expensive CAD software platforms used at the University. At the end of the paper, results and conclusions will be presented with the new ideas for developing future work.

2. CAD software

CAD software, which we will discuss in this article, refers to the most widely used in the field of mechanics such as aerospace, automotive engineering and many other fields of engineering mainly in manufacturing. What we intend to show in this article firstly, is the use which has been given so far to the designs in CAD [14], and different

outputs that we provide such software to work at a later stage display through AR/VR. This type of software is always expensive and there are students, customers and partners that cannot afford to buy licenses. Sharing 3D contents using websites and AR/VR apps based on open standards offers an excellent opportunity to encourage the general public to become acquainted with our products with no specific investment. There are open technologies to diffuse 3D contents but they are not widely used nowadays because producers of plugins for visualizing 3D contents on the web are leading this technology. But most used web browsers include native possibilities for visualizing 3D contents; it is only a question of developing special websites or adding the necessary modifications to the actual websites. This is the aim of our project. Basically we will focus on the CAD programs [15] we have at our disposal. These have allowed us to see all the possibilities for the AR/VR environment. Table 1 below shows the software used and the different extensions that we provide for further treatment in AR/VR. From 3D models stored in files with the different extensions provided by CAD programs, we try to transfer them to AR/VR software, making the appropriate changes, rendered application layers, lighting and even movement. Thus, we get the effect of visualization features as real as possible and the users can manipulate them as if they were in their hands. Such supplements are obtained from other specific programs [16] and tools for rendering, animation or illumination of scenes, such as Autodesk 3D Studio [17], Maya [18] or Blender [19], the latter Open Source.

Table 1. Software used and the different extensions.

Software CAD Main extension Other extensions

CATIA v5 *.part; *.product *.stp;*.vrml;*.3dmap;*.3dxml;*.cgr;*.iges; .model;*.Navrep;*.stl;*.x3d;*.wrl;*.hcg;*.icem

NX 9 *.prt *.iges;*.stp;*.step;*.dxf;*.dwg;*.model(catia); .catpart(catia)

Autocad 2014 *.dwg; *.dgn;*.dxf;*.dws;*.dxx;*.bmp;*iges:*.igs;*.dwf; .3ddwf;*.pdf;*.fbx;*.wmf;*.sat;*.stl;*eps

Solid Edge ST5 *.par;*.asm *.model;*.plmxml;*.prt:*.dwg:*.dxf; *.x t;*.xgl;*.sat; .jt:*.part;*.igs;*.step;*.stl;*.3dpdf;*.u3d

Solid Works *.sldprt;*.sldasm *.stl;*.iges;*.stp;*.proe;3D XML; *.dxf;*.dwg

Sketchup 2013 *.skp *.mtl;*.obj;*.wrl;*.xsi:*.fbx;*.dwg;*.3ds;*.txt

3. Why apply AR/VR to education

AR systems are an extension of the concept of VE. These systems present the user with an enhanced view of the real world. This view contains virtual elements. The visual augmentation may be accompanied by sound, tactile (haptic) and other types of augmentation. Visual augmentation requires users' movements to be tracked. Tracking computes the position and orientation of the user's head so that the virtual elements can be correctly rendered and displayed. Rendered elements are displayed on the users view of the real world. By mixing this view, the virtual graphics and text can be done in either of two ways. See-through devices allow the user to see the real world directly. They display the graphics on a transparent screen located between the real world and the users' eyes. The display may be a LED or an OLED like those used in projectors. Alternatively, a camera mounted on the users head may capture views of the real world. These may then be combined with the virtual graphics and displayed on a head mounted display (HMD). The main advantage of AR systems over regular VE systems is that they combine virtual and real worlds thus providing a much richer experience. AR systems can be single-user or multi-user collaborative. Single-user systems have been applied to science, engineering, training and entertainment, among others. Collaborative systems have been applied to the same areas with much more valuable results. For example, we can collaborate with other colleagues such as computer technicians, mechanics or mathematicians and use automation or other disciplines around us, to obtain a multidisciplinary work. Many processes, ideas and concepts can be better illustrated by using both images of the real world and graphics. Think for example of a future architect looking at a building. We are able to let the student look at the floor plans at the same time. A different but much better approach uses AR to superimpose the internal structure on the building so that it can be understood why it does not collapse.

University teaching methodologies have not evolved much over the centuries. The method of attending lectures, taking notes and taking a final exam dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries. Recently, new technologies have appeared in the classroom. For example, it is common to see PowerPoint presentations and use networked platforms like Moodle [20]. Using these new technologies does not imply an increased interaction between students and the teacher. In fact, information often keeps on flowing in only one direction, from the teacher to the students. For students to learn more and better, education has to be both experimental and interactive. We learn more from hands-

on experiences than from traditional lectures. Also, collaboration and discussions between students help them with their education by teaching them opinions and methods proposed by their peers. This is more interesting for engineering students. But other disciplines such as law may benefit from new technologies, like teleconferencing to attend or participate in remote trials.

AR is mature enough to be applied to many everyday activities. Education is one of them, especially for the following reasons [21]: (i) AR supports seamless interaction between real and VEs; (ii) AR makes it possible to use a tangible interface metaphor for object manipulation; (iii) Finally, AR makes for a smooth transition from reality to virtuality. AR can also be used for online education. Project MARIE (Multimedia Augmented Reality Interface for E-Learning) uses AR to present 3D information to the students [22]. The authors argue that AR is more effective than VEs in terms of price, realism and interactivity. They also predict that in ten years AR will be used in many every-day applications.

On the other way, VR is interesting to isolate students from the real world and make them concentrate on 3D models allowing manipulations that are more difficult to do in the real world, this is the case of engineering students.

4. Engineering and AR/VR

We intend to use AR/VR to help teaching in several different classes: in the first level of engineering, in a class of expression graphics and advanced graphics and finally in project work. These classes are well suited for this purpose because:

• It can be used in different subjects or departments.

• All of them are based on the knowledge of computer aided graphics.

• Models and practices are much better understood using 3D models with rendering and tangible interfaces.

We will explain the expected benefits of using AR/VR in the classroom. We will describe our goals, our classroom setup, and the results obtained from our experience with AR/VR and Engineering graphics. More specifically, we will present the outcome of a satisfaction questionnaire filled out by the student subjects of the experience. And finally as an example of sharing experiences, the MotoStudent project will be introduced.

4.1. Justification and expected benefits

Not every student has the same 3D spatial perception abilities. Some students have difficulties envisioning 3D objects drawn or displayed in 2D. This is relevant in Engineering where students must analyse the 3D models in order to see the correct answers to the class problems. 2D produces optical illusions that usually stem from the ambiguity of 2D renderings. Figure 1 shows the Necker cube where two edges of the cube cross (a), the image does not tell which one is at the front and which is at the back: the drawing is ambiguous; (b) and (c) are the two possible interpretations. Figure 2 shows an M.C. Escher drawing, an impossible object, there are just drawings or images with no consistent interpretation. But, one can construct real physical "sculptures" that when viewed from a certain angle look like impossible objects.

Figure 1. The Necker cube [23].

Figure 2. Impossible objects [23].

Ambiguity of 2D models together with the difficulties of 3D analysis and perception imply that very often important concepts are not assimilated. Also, problems that can be easily solved by rotating a model and analyzing its face and geometry are almost unsolvable, even for competent students. This is why many students end up

memorizing models and problem solutions before the exam. A few days afterwards the students have forgotten most of them. Instead, models should be derived from much simpler concepts. This would help the knowledge to settle in their minds. To improve our students' comprehension of spatial capacity we introduce an AR/VR system. It allows tangible interaction with the virtual models, thus simplifying their 3D analysis. The two main benefits of applying AR/VR techniques to our classes are: (1) Students have a much better understanding of the fundamental concepts and models presented in the classes; (2) A powerful and flexible AR/VR tool simplifies the teacher's task of explaining the basic concepts related to models and spatial capacity.

4.2. Goals

Overall we have two goals: (I) to improve the students understanding of models and assemblies using AR/VR, and (II) to provide the teacher with a tool to better explain those models that require good 3D spatial intuition. Additionally, we have the following specific goals, including computer related goals.

With respect to the students' spatial ability, our intention is to achieve the following goals: (1) To get them actively involved by introducing a novel technology like AR/VR; (2) To provide them with a tool to view different 3D models in an intuitive way; (3) To increase their 3D analysis and perception skills; (4) During the class we want them to manipulate the models independently or in groups not only with the teacher but also on their own, while working on problem solving; (5) To develop aptitudes such as initiative and class participation by manipulating the structures; we also want them to collaborate in groups; (6) Bringing new computer technologies to the students, increasing their knowledge, their abilities and their communication skills; these skills are critical for the students to later be able to successfully join multi-disciplinary teams with experts from other areas.

With respect to teachers of Graphics Expression we aim to achieve the following goals: (a) To provide them with a tool that will catch students' attention by attracting and surprising them; so students' attention and participation will then be maximized; (b) Increasing the teachers options to efficiently teach concepts where a good spatial intuition is critical for the students understanding.

Finally, our computer related goals are: (i) To compile a database of 3D models of mechanical of engineering; (ii) To use it in a collaborative AR/VR system with markers and cameras; (iii) To implement our software system with open-source libraries; (iv) To promote free software usage.

4.3. Classroom implementation

To apply AR/VR technology to our classes we first take into account our current methodology. We do not want to introduce substantial changes. Instead our goal is to naturally improve our current methodology using the AR/VR system. To do so we add AR/VR sessions to our current theory, problem, practice and laboratory classes. That is, we alternate between using the blackboard, PowerPoint presentations and other teaching resources, and using structure analysis with the AR/VR system. The system allows students to inspect a set of models by moving a maker or showing the model in the web and moving the mouse. The marker is recognized by AR Toolkit [24], an open-source library for AR application development. Figure 3 shows some of the structure models with their associated markers (AR). Note that the makers easily identify the structures. The 3D models of the material structures are superimposed on the markers when these are recognized. There are also some models that have been built using the VRML modeling language and X3DOM; we also have a model library in the browser allowing easy access and manipulation (VR), Figure 5 shows the same model on the web based on X3DOM. Figure 4 shows the original model developed with CATIA.

Figure 3. AR application using a trigger. Figure 4. 3D model in CATIA. Figure 5 3D model in a web browser-

4.4. First impressions and results

In order to know the students' opinion about this project, a survey was carried out in the Graphics Expression classes. The main objective of this survey was to collect their opinions about the advantages and disadvantages of using AR/VR techniques. We also wanted to know whether it was useful from the point of view of the students as users of this methodology. The survey group was made up of fifteen students randomly chosen from the different classes where our system was used. Note that some of them were in more than one of these classes. The general opinion among them was that using AR to understand models was very useful. All of the students surveyed considered that AR was a powerful tool that helped them to understand the 3D arrangement of these models. Furthermore, 70% of them wanted to use it at home on their personal laptop or desktop computers. 70% of the students agreed that the main advantage of using AR in Graphics Expression was the possibility of interacting with a 3D world (moving and rotating physical markers) instead of imagining the final structure through two dimensional figures and pictures. Another 60% answered that the main advantage was the option of easily analyzing the models from different angles and directions. Finally, the remaining 70% said that this methodology was very valuable in helping them improving their visual and spatial skills. As for the disadvantages, 50% of the students complained that they not have a physical system permanently installed in the classroom. They wanted a system to enable the use of more webcams and reduce the time taken in connecting the system for starting the class. Another 15% thought that the main disadvantage was the size of the images on the board. And the remaining 35% of the students did not see any disadvantage or thought that it would be good to continue the project and have it further improved. This disadvantage could be overcome by using a personal tablet in class. These good impressions made us thinking about new uses of these technologies as the MotoStudent project described on next section.

5. The MotoStudent project

MotoStudent Competition [25] is a challenge between University students' teams among all over the world. The goal is to design, manufacture and evaluate a racing motorbike prototype, which is then put to the test and final evaluation at the MotorLand Aragon Circuit. The competition itself represents a challenge to the students. They will have to prove their creativity and innovation skills to directly apply their engineering abilities against other teams from universities all over the world during a period of three semesters/terms. MotoStudent brings benefits to the students, to the universities and to the industry and with our proposal also to the society. The challenge to teams is to develop a motorbike that can successfully accomplish with all the tests and events along the MotoStudent Competition. MotoStudent gives the teams the chance to prove and demonstrate their engineering skills, creativity and business abilities in competition to teams from other universities around the world, so there is a need to make the project universally reachable. A group of students of mechanical engineering from the University of Basque Country desired to participate in this contest. Their idea was using the CAD software at the University to design their prototypes. But there is a need of sharing these prototypes in order to promote their work to the audience of the

contest and maybe to possible investors. The lack of cheap software for 3D on the web is a handicap. Besides, the economic situation nowadays gives the students few chances to develop an initiative out of the official budgets. Thus, the use of software like X3DOM allows them to share their 3D designs over the Internet with low costs and also they can enrich their experience collaborating with computing science engineers and web designers.

Figure 8. Model 2 (CATIA). Figure 9. Model 2 (X3DOM).

Some examples of pieces developed with CATIA for this project are shown in Figure 6 and Figure 8 with their conversion for the web in Figure 7 and Figure 9. This conversion has allowed the students to share their developments with other students and general public with no investment for them or for the public. On the next sections, Web3D concept will be introduced and, as an example of this concept, X3DOM and the workflow used to share our students' 3D models on the web.

6. Web3D

More and more websites are tridimensional. This will be generalized when our smart phones and tablets are able to visualize these characteristics. Having specific hardware to do this is the intention of the AR Engine [26] project. Several standards such as VRML and X3D have been designed by Web3D Consortium [27] but there is also work in progress for AR. For example, ARML [28] is a proposal. Also standardization of a 3D compression format is a must. The big challenge is to compress and stream 3D assets using an effective and widely adopted coder decoder (codec), in the same way as MP3 is the standard for audio, H.264 is that for video and PNG/JPEG is that for images. In the future we will see a popular application for 3D transmission on the way as there are popular applications for audio, video and images (see Table 2).

Table 2. Applications for audio, video, images and 3D.

Audio Video Images 3D


Napster YouTube Facebook ?

Uses of Web3D could be those proposed by John Vince [29] in Table 3:

Table 3. Uses of Web3D.

GROUPS AR/MR/VR applications

Industrial Visualizing engineering concepts, Training personnel, Evaluating ergonomic issues, Visualizing virtual prototypes,

Visualizing virtual weapons, Exploring servicing strategies, Simulating the interaction of assemblies, Simulating the dynamics of articulated structures, Stress analysis, Distributed product development management, Simulating manufacturing processes, Collaborative engineering on large AEC projects, Machining and pressing simulation, Concurrent engineering, Ergonomics, Virtual prototypes, Visual engineering, Spatial visualization.

Training Medicine (Soft body modelling, Minimally invasive surgery, Virtual therapy), Civilian flight simulators, Teaching,

Simulators Learning, Military simulators (Flight, etc.), Strategic simulators, Train driving simulators, Vehicle simulators,

Emergency services

Entertainment and Computer and Video Games, Recreational games, Experiences at Thematic parks and Museums, Tourism and

Cultural Heritage Advertisement

VR Centres Architecture, Indoor Design, Urban Development, Airport Design, Bridge Design, Human Movement Analysis

But, in the field of engineering, we can consider: S Visualization of product and data, reducing the cost of sending samples to the customers, etc. S E-commerce and B2B applications, improving detailed information regarding products offered. S Learning and training, giving a better approach to the tridimensional appearance to the learners without using

authoring tools. S Web improvement, giving 3D to the web.

S News and Ad improvement, giving 3D to advertising and commercial web-based reports.

Several options have been used to develop Web3D, the most popular are: (i) Commercial Plugins: Adobe Director [30], Adobe Flash [31], Microsoft Silverlight [32], Cortona [33] and others; (ii) Java Plugins, applet based solutions developed with Java or Java based APIs like Java3D [34]; (iii) Ajax3D [35]: X3D based and plugin needed with JavaScript; (iv) WebGL [36]: several JavaScript libraries for HTML5; (v) X3DOM [37]: that is our choice because of the ample community supporting this JavaScript and CSS library with no need for plugin and widely implemented natively on most popular web browsers.

7. X3DOM

While X3DOM community is still working hard to make it a reference for Web3D [38], we have tested several desktop and mobile devices in order to see the possibilities of accessing 3D contents using desktop/laptop based systems and mobile based systems.

7.1. Desktop/Laptop support

Some implementations of the X3DOM model need an Instant Reality plugin [39], a Flashll plugin or a WebGL-enabled browser. We tested the most usual web browsers on a Microsoft Windows 10, on an Apple Mac OS machine and on a Linux system (Table 4). Linux testing is more complicated due to the diversity of distributions. Both Windows and Mac OS support X3DOM websites on the latest versions of the most popular browsers: Google Chrome [40], Mozilla Firefox [41], Safari [42], Opera [43] and Microsoft Edge [44].

Table 4. Web browsers for desktop/laptop.

Web browser Windows 10 Mac OS 10.10.4 Linux

Microsoft Edge OK N/A N/A

Google Chrome OK OK N/A

Mozilla Firefox OK OK OK

Safari OK OK N/A

Opera OK OK N/A

7.2. Mobile support

We tested the most usual web browsers on an iOS based device, an Android based device, a Windows Phone based device and a FirefoxOS based device (Table 5). Latest versions of iOS and Android support X3DOM on most popular web browsers. FirefoxOS supports X3DOM over Firefox web browser and we couldn't visualize X3DOM content over any Windows Phone device yet.

Table 5. Web browsers for mobile/tablet.

Web browser iOS 8.4.1 Android 5.5.1 Windows Phone 8.1 FirefoxOS

Internet Explorer N/A N/A NO N/A

Google Chrome OK OK N/A N/A

Mozilla Firefox N/A OK N/A OK

Safari OK N/A N/A N/A

Opera OK NO N/A N/A

8. From CAD to AR/VR

As mentioned above, the information transfer from CAD [45] [46] models to the AR/VR applications is sometimes carried out in a direct way, through specific AR/VR software or through intermediaries such as could be Sketchup [47], 3DS [17] or Maya [18] which allow models to be interpreted by the AR/VR software. Our proposal allows 3D designers to export their contents developed with the usual author tools such as Catia [1], AutoCAD [4], NX10 [48], etc. to be shown on the Internet inside websites with no need for downloading plugins or any special configuration by the users. This process is shown on Figure 10. The 3D model developed with the author tool (CATIA) must be converted to X3D format using the "aopt program" [49]. The code on the obtained X3D file must be inserted into our webpage html code under the <x3d> tag. Stylesheets x3dom.css and blog-web.css must be associated to this webpage together with the last version of X3DOM's Javascript libraries. After this process is done, we have it all to display the 3D content in the usual Web browsers for PCs, laptops, tablets or mobile phones. Thus, users can interact with this 3D content resizing it, changing perspectives, etc. 3D content can be shown as AR/VR. For visualizing as AR more development is needed depending on whether it is location based, marker based or even Oculus Rift [50] based but always using JavaScript and HTML with no commercial plugins. Once we are able to show our 3D models through the Web3D, 3D printing could be the next step and this could be done by means of a similar process where instead of producing web pages, files formatted for 3D printing are provided for downloading (STL, stereotype layered, etc.).

Figure 10. From CATIA to X3DOM

9. Conclusions and future work

We have introduced an AR/VR system for teaching Graphics Expression at the university-level. Our system uses inexpensive cameras and open-source software to set up a collaborative environment that supports several groups of students interacting with models and assemblies. The structures are modeled in 3D using CAD software such as CATIA, SolidEdge or NX and translating to VRML/X3D. Interaction is handled by using hand-held markers and ARToolkit, a public domain AR software library. But also, websites with the 3D models are done. Our experience with the system shows that students enjoy it and learn more Graphics Expression concepts. In fact, they ask whether they can take one home. We have also observed that they substantially improve their spatial intuition and learn to better understand visual cues better. We aim to apply this system to other areas of Mechanical design, automation, physical or electronic department. We intend to improve the tracking and rendering capabilities of the system and a better support for heavy models. We wish to support more students and we try to have a classroom permanently outfitted for collaborative AR/VR education. As can be seen above, it is clear that the world of AR/VR is very powerful and can have many applications [51] in engineering and that this junction can be very beneficial for all parties involved, both the designer and the potential customer, which the information will reach a more realistic and intuitive way, as it can interact with the model in some cases. At other times we may be of assistance information or maintenance [52] of equipment, in the aeronautical and automobile fields. In the field of education, we can see that the interactive with the design can be more realistic, although still alignment errors or loss of information are in place, the AR [53-54] can provide us a breakthrough in spatial ability student, unimaginable recently time. In the field of aeronautics and automobile production, major companies such as Boeing and Airbus are already making significant evidence for the use of AR in the training of their workers, as well as in the field of maintenance. There is a promising future for Web3D technologies. Despite the investment in training for developing this kind of applications, the solutions that can be reached are less expensive than others, not only with respect to money, but also sustainability. So we will be aware of the CAD Working Group Strategy [55] to improve our developments.


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