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Automated Online Process Training in a Virtual Environment

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Online Learning

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.241.1 - 25.241.11



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Paper Authors


Hatem M. Wasfy Advanced Science and Automation Corp.

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Mr. Hatem Wasfy is the President of Advanced Science and Automation Corp. (ASA), a company that specializes in the development of online virtual learning environments and advanced engineering simulations. He has helped design several interactive learning environments that include a CNC machining course, a centrifugal pump maintenance course, an undergraduate physics course, and a welding course. He received a B.S. (1994) and an M.S. (1996) in mechanical engineering from the American University in Cairo. Wasfy’s research interests include advanced learning systems, cavitation modeling, computational fluid dynamics, internal combustion engine modeling and design, and AI rule-based expert systems.

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Tamer M. Wasfy Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis

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Tamer Wasfy received a B.S. (1989) in mechanical engineering and an M.S. (1990) in materials engineering from the American University in Cairo, and an M.Phil. (1993) and Ph.D. (1994) in mechanical engineering from Columbia University. He worked as a research scientist at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Columbia University (1994-1995) and at the University of Virginia at NASA Langley Research Center (1995-1998). Wasfy is an Associate Professor at the Mechanical Engineering Department at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Wasfy is also the Founder and Chairman of Advanced Science and Automation Corp. (founded in 1998) and AscienceTutor (founded in 2007). Wasfy's research and development areas include flexible multibody dynamics, finite element modeling of solids and fluids, fluid-structure interaction, belt-drive dynamics, tires mechanics/dynamics, ground vehicle dynamics, visualization of numerical simulation results, engineering applications of virtual-reality, and artificial intelligence. He authored and co-authored more than 70 peer-reviewed publications and gave more than 65 presentations at international conferences and invited lectures in those areas. He received two ASME best conference paper awards as first author. He is the Software Architect for the DIS, IVRESS, and LEA software systems, which are used by industry, government agencies, and academic institutions. Wasfy is a member of ASME, AIAA, SAE, and ASEE.

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Jeanne Peters Advanced Science and Automation Corp.

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Jeanne Peters received a B.A. in math/computer science from the College of William and Mary. She worked at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. for more than 20 years as a Senior Programmer/Analyst for George Washington University, University of Virginia, and Old Dominion University. She co-authored more than 70 journal and conference papers in the areas of computational mechanics, finite element method, shells/plates, composite material panels, and tires. She has also worked on numerous projects to create advanced engineering design and learning environments, which include multimodal user interfaces for space systems. As Vice President of Information Technology, Peters directs the development of advanced virtual reality applications, including scientific visualization applications and web-based multimedia education/training applications.

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Hazim A. El-Mounayri Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis

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Hazim El-Mounayri is an Associate Professor of M.E. and the Co-director of the Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing Laboratory (AEML) at IUPUI. The AEML is currently conducting research in virtual manufacturing and intelligent (multiscale) machining, which aims at developing the Advanced Virtual Manufacturing Laboratory for Training, Education, and Research (AVML), an innovative e-learning tool for educating students and training the next generation workforce in sophisticated technology and its underlying theory. The core technology is being used to develop online courses that incorporate both lecture and lab components. El-Mounayri teaches capstone design and has mentored several projects for industry and other sponsors. He has been very active in undergraduate research. Among the multidisciplinary undergraduate research projects he mentored, two consisted of assessing the usability and pedagogical value of the AVML tool. His teaching and mentoring performance has won him several teaching/mentoring excellence awards, including the 2008 and 2010 TERA awards for teaching excellence. He has published more than 60 technical papers in renowned peer-reviewed journals and technical conferences in his field and gave presentations at various national and international conferences, including ASEE. He is a member of ASME, ASEE, and SME.

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Automated Online Process Training in a Virtual EnvironmentTraining for the operation of industrial machinery and lab equipment is usually expensive, timeconsuming, and might require taking the equipment off-line. Furthermore, even with aknowledgeable instructor nearby to supervise the training, the equipment can still be hazardousto a novice trainee. Thus there is a need to conduct, at least the initial phases of the training,more cheaply in a safe environment where mistakes would not result in injury to personnel ordamage to expensive equipment without compromising the effectiveness of the training.In this paper, we present the framework for an online virtual reality based learning environmentfor automated process training. The system has a lecture component that uses text-to-speechnarrated lectures that are synchronized with interactive 2D and 3D graphics to introduce studentsto the concepts they will train on. The system also has a virtual environment (VE) that studentsnavigate in first person where the practical training takes place. The VE contains accurategraphical models of the equipment on which training is sought, and is programmed with the logicof how the equipment is operated, and how it behaves. Trainees can interact with the systemusing a computer pointing device, a specialized haptic device, typed commands, or spokencommands.The system was used in various applications including training in the operation and/ormaintenance of Computer Numeric Control (CNC) milling and turning machines, weldingmachines, industrial centrifugal pumps, a wind tunnel, and scientific lab equipment. In apedagogical study that was done on the system, it was found that the virtual reality enhancedinteractive online training produced similar student outcomes as compared to training on theactual equipment.

Wasfy, H. M., & Wasfy, T. M., & Peters, J., & El-Mounayri, H. A. (2012, June), Automated Online Process Training in a Virtual Environment Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21001

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