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Virtual Reality Laboratory Accidents

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.1134.1 - 6.1134.7



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Paper Authors

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Scott Fogler

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John T. Bell

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

Session 2213

Virtual Reality Laboratory Accidents

John T. Bell, H. Scott Fogler University of Illinois at Chicago / University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

I. Background & Introduction

Every year there are far too many laboratory accidents, in undergraduate teaching labs, graduate research labs, industrial testing labs, medical labs, and others. These accidents continue to occur in spite of the most modern safety policies and training practices. Of course some accidents can never be avoided, but far too many occur because people have become complacent or forgetful of the safe procedures that they have been taught.

On the other hand, anyone who has ever experienced an accident is likely to remember that experience far longer than any set of written safety rules. Obviously we can’t deliberately involve our students in real accidents just to emphasize the importance of safety, but we can let them experience virtual accidents, through the use of virtual reality, ( VR )[1-7]. These virtual accidents will not have the same impact as real accidents, but they will have a more long lasting effect than written rules on paper.

One of the major goals of this project is to create a series of virtual accidents that will have as broad an impact as possible on a world-wide scale. This goal implies delivering the simulations via the world wide web, either in the form of simulations runnable directly from the web or in the form of downloadable packages. A second goal is to explore and experiment with the different viable formats, to determine which is/are most applicable for this type of application, and also to reach a wider audience through multi-platform support.

The Virtual Reality Laboratory Accident project is currently being implemented by students in the Virtual Reality Undergraduate Projects Laboratory ( VRUPL ) at the University of Illinois at Chicago in conjunction with students from the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. This work extends and continues previous work done by the authors under the Virtual Reality in Chemical Engineering Laboratory ( VRiChEL ) at the University of Michigan [8-13]. The VRiChEL web site ( including free downloads of completed simulations ) has been moved to UIC, where it is being maintained by VRUPLers as a sub-page of the VRUPL web site, VRUPL has been set up as an undergraduate satellite to the graduate research Electronic Visualization Laboratory ( ) under the direction of Dr. Thomas Defanti, and receives both financial and technical support from that group, as well as enjoying a synergistic relationship with the graduate research projects, students, and seminars.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Fogler, S., & Bell, J. T. (2001, June), Virtual Reality Laboratory Accidents Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9997

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