Although there are many languages and toolboxes for simulating industrial systems, their graphics at best are limited to 2-dimensional animation. SWOOPVR is an extension to the simulation language SWOOP, developed by Robin Hollands at the University of Sheffield, that extends these output capabilities into a full virtual-environment. An industrial (or in fact any) process, can be simulated using the mixed-mode modelling capabilities of SWOOP, and then the analyst can literally walk-through the simulated process. Objects within the simulation can be manipulated to investigate the effect on the total system (e.g. what if I turn this machine off?), and the spatial interaction between system elements is clearly visible.
This shows the head mounted display developed for use with SWOOPVR. There is a mechanical head tracker. A Casio LCD is combined with a camcorder lens to provide a 50 degree FOV mono-display (there are plans to make it stereo). Despite the "homebrew" appearance I (Sean Clark) found it almost as good as some of the commercial head mounted dispays I have used (even though it is a lot less expensive!). The software used displayed a process simulation to the user graphically. A joystick is used for navigation in the virtual world.
Another view of the head mounted display.
Another wide angle view of the SWOOPVR system.
Robin Hollands, A&CSE Dept., Sheffield University, Mappin Street, SHEFFIELD, S1 3JD. E-mail: R.Hollands@uk.ac.sheffield