Discipline: Technology and Engineering
Subcategory: Electrical Engineering
Viktor Wahlquist - Binghampton University - SUNY
Co-Author(s): Jeremy Smith, Virginia Tech, VA
Clean water is a limited natural resource which is essential to all life on earth. According to the United Nations’ World Water Assessment Programme, over 80% of wastewater worldwide is not treated, nor collected. Urban settlements and industry are two of the most prominent sources of water pollution. To prevent water pollution from happening, it is extremely important that we educate the public about the importance of clean water (WWAP, 2012). Educating the public requires that data is showed in simple and comprehensible ways. Virtual environments are an excellent method for accomplishing that goal. Several environments, including virtual labs, simulations, and games, have been developed to educate the public. However, most of these tools have not accounted for the importance of high fidelity and high presence in an educational virtual environment.
The purpose of this research project is to design and develop a high-fidelity virtual environment that uses authentic data gathered by the LEWAS to educate people about how storm events affect small urban streams. This project was designed using quality function deployment, and developed using a game engine. The project resulted in an explorable virtual environment representing the field site during a storm event that took place September 29th, 2015.
During the design process, a Quality Function Deployment (QFD) method known as a House of Quality (HOQ) was used. Following the conceptual design of the VE, the development of the VE started. The development phase took place in 5 steps: Converting point cloud data into unity terrain, adding and manipulating water, adding details, programming the case study, and implementing a traveling method. Throughout this project, an educational virtual environment (EVE) that shows the effect of a storm event on a small urbanized stream was successfully designed and developed. The environment is meant to be explored using virtual reality technologies and is a virtual representation of a case study that occurred on September 29th, 2015.
In consideration of future work, the environment could be improved through expansion, the use of geological and biological details, the addition of more parameters, and the development of virtual sensors. The environment could be expanded to increase the area that users can explore. The environment could also be improved by including more water and weather parameters. The quality of the environment as an educational tool could be evaluated through user studies.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): I acknowledge the support of the National Science Foundation through NSF/REU Site Grant -1659495.
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Vinod Lohani, email@example.com
Role: Nearly all. I had some assistance.