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Design Education Over The Internet Using Vrml

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.163.1 - 4.163.10

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Paper Authors

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Kurt C. Gramoll

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Karthik Ranga

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2625

Design Education over the Internet using VRML

Karthik Ranga, Kurt Gramoll University of Oklahoma


Over the past few years the World Wide Web or the Internet has made its impact on almost all fields of human life, from business and entertainment to shopping and communicating with people all over the globe. Virtual Reality Modeling Language or VRML for short is a tool specifically designed for creating 3D virtual worlds on the World Wide Web. These synthetic worlds give us the ability to visualize objects on the computer screen almost as if they were in the real world and also view them from all possible angles and directions.

The VRML environment is viewed on the Internet using web browsers. This paper describes the application of VRML and the Internet in imparting design education to engineering students. The VRML based design environment is a real time design environment i.e. the students can experiment by changing the values of design parameters and get the feedback immediately as the design model updates on the computer screen. This design environment also allows the user to conduct design analysis of the model. Since this method uses the Internet as the collaboration medium, it allows multiple users to log on to the VRML design world at the same time from different locations. Thus team projects and collaborative efforts for better understanding the design process are possible by the use of this technology. Working professionals and engineers who may not be able to attend traditional classes due to their full time jobs can use this web-based method to study online. An additional benefit is the design projects can be easily archived for viewing and use by students in future courses.


It is well known that courses in design form an important part of the curriculum for students majoring in mechanical, aerospace and civil engineering. In design courses students are taught to analyze problems using various equations and theories for computing forces, stress, strains and displacements 1. Since the design problems concern real world objects such as shafts, gears, pulleys etc., a visual representation of the design model enhances the understanding of students taking the design course. Since the purpose of VRML is for making computer and Internet-based 3-D models it is an important technology that can be used by students to visualize their design model thereby enabling them to better understand the design. Modern CAD programs also have good

Gramoll, K. C., & Ranga, K. (1999, June), Design Education Over The Internet Using Vrml Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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