Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Gregory Mocko

Committee Member

Dr. Cameron Turner

Committee Member

Dr. Eric K Patterson


There has been a growing trend in the use of immersive technologies within engineering design. This research is focused on understanding how Virtual Reality (VR) technologies support design reviews. Modern tools including virtual reality hardware and software were tested for current capabilities and challenges. In a review of literature, two key gaps are identified: the rapid advancements of VR and AR technology and limited formal studies to determine the costs and benefits of immersive technology within engineering design reviews. This research has resulted in three key outcomes. First, use cases of immersive reality technologies are identified, through the lens of the DoD Acquisition Process and the Pahl and Beitz systematic design process and conversations with the Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC): situational analysis (Use Case 1), requirement gathering (Use Case 2), design for assembly and maintenance (Use Case 4), user feedback (Use Case 4), immersive simulations (Use Case 5) and virtual training (Use Case 6). Second, adapting engineering assets developed in CAD softwares for immersive software and hardware requires a significant effort. To understand the process, CAD models of three mechanical systems are transformed into associated VR representation for two target software systems. These examples helped to identify the challenges, limitations, and details of the transformation processes. Third, a formal study was developed to explore the impact of virtual reality on requirements gathering (Use Case 2) for the design of an off-road racing vehicle. An exploratory pilot study was completed in which participants are divided into a non-immersive group and a virtual reality group and asked to identify requirements and capabilities for the off-road vehicle. The participants were asked to do a pre- and post- experiment survey and to provide feedback to improve the experiment protocol. The conclusions from the pilot will be used improve the study for a larger group of participants. In conclusion, VR technologies have promise, but continued research is needed to understand the costs and benefits of integrating immersive technology and developed assets for virtual representations in design.

Available for download on Friday, May 31, 2024