Learning some procedures required for working on a ship wharf is usually a difficult and costly process due to limited access to an actual location and lots of risk involved. Still, students of the faculty of 3mE (Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering) have to practice some assembly and logistics ship operations.
In order to help students learn easily and safely, the NewMedia Centre created a multiplayer VR application where they can learn multiple disciplines on a ship wharf in a virtual environment. Once in VR, the students perform different tasks from identifying and locating the required parts of the ship to transporting them and assembling the hull of the ship with a crane. During the whole experience they work in a team and perform these practical tasks while learning to navigate through the ship together. All the team members communicate through virtual walkie talkies, created specifically to increase the realism of their communication in VR.
“ For this project a ship and a ship wharf have been created in 3D, using Unreal Engine, and optimised for VR. The application features a multiplayer environment.”
How does it work?
Students use VR headsets which provide full immersion into the environment. For this project a ship and a ship wharf have been created in 3D, using Unreal Engine, and optimised for VR. The application features a multiplayer environment.
At some point the students have to carry a pipe through the ship. As VR does not allow us to replicate the weight of the object, we have added a real physical pipe with a length of about 150cm with weights attached to it. The object is fitted with a VR puck that translates the object to VR so students can see and feel the object in VR and learn to communicate and navigate in safety while physically carrying a weight. This enables a more realistic perception of the virtual experience and results in a more effective learning.
The maritime project has been run successfully with students from the faculty of 3mE and is scheduled to be expanded over time through the addition of more functionality and tasks.
Dr.ir. J.F.J. (Jeroen) Pruijn
Max van Schendel
Huu Dat Nguyen