The US manufacturing industry is currently facing a welding workforce shortage which is largely due to inadequacy of widespread welding training. To address this challenge, we present a Virtual Reality (VR)-based training system aimed at transforming state-of-the-art-welding simulations and in-person instruction into a widely accessible and engaging platform. We applied backward design principles to design a low-cost welding simulator in the form of modularized units through active consulting with welding training experts. Using a minimum viable prototype, we conducted a user study with 24 novices to test the system’s usability. Our findings show (1) greater effectiveness of the system in transferring skills to real-world environments as compared to accessible video-based alternatives and, (2) the visuo-haptic guidance during virtual welding enhances performance and provides a realistic learning experience to users. Using the solution, we expect inexperienced users to achieve competencies faster and be better prepared to enter actual work environments.
Towards Modeling of Virtual Reality Welding Simulators to Promote Accessible and Scalable Training
Authors: Ananya Ipsita, Levi Erickson, Yangzi Dong, Joey Huang, Alexa Bushinski, Sraven Saradhi, Ana Villanueva, Kylie Peppler, Thomas Redick, and Karthik Ramani
In the Proceedings of the 2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Ananya Ipsita is a Master's student in the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University since Fall 2018. She received her Bachelor's degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from National Institute of Technology, Rourkela, India. Prior to joining Purdue, she worked as a software engineer in SAP Labs, India where she designed and developed analytical business solutions. Her research interest includes computer vision, robotic systems, Augmented Reality (AR) and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).