Spatial mechanism design in virtual reality with networking
Development and increased use of virtual reality tools are allowing users to replace physical models with digital models. Changes that are expensive and take a long time to make are easily done on digital models. VRNETS software was developed as a tool for designing and evaluating spatial 4C mechanism with networking to allow users at different locations to share positions and mechanism data. Spatial mechanisms allow motion in three-dimensional space. Spatial 4C mechanisms consist of four rigid links connected by four cylindrical (CCCC) joints. Solutions are obtained by synthesis, after specifying the location and orientation of four positions in space. The solutions are represented as a type map or as a set of congruencies. A type map is a 2D color-coded map representing the solutions. All of the possible mechanisms that can be formed that pass through all four positions are obtained in the solution set but not all of the mechanisms necessarily move in a continuous motion between the positions.;Filters are applied to the type map to indicate the mechanisms that suffer from branch and circuit defects. From these representations, the user can choose and evaluate different mechanisms. Animating each mechanism will show if the mechanism goes through the positions in the orientation and order specified. This design process is shared between two or more users through a network process based on client/server networking. Networking is implemented using World2Wolrd software, which is written on top of User Datagram Protocol (UDP). The application itself is written in C++ using WorldToolKit software libraries. This application provides designers with a tool to design spatial 4C mechanism. The virtual environment enables designers to interact with the design using natural, intuitive, three-dimensional motions.