Original Date: 04/26/1999
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Army/NASA Virtual Innovations Laboratory
Marshall Space Flight Center’s (MSFC’s) Engineering Systems Department, in conjunction with the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal, has developed the Army/NASA Virtual Innovations Laboratory (ANVIL). This laboratory develops effective human-interface-to-hardware designs by combining human modeling and analysis tools with virtual reality technologies. The process involves importing computer aided design (CAD) models into an analysis package, where the creation of human models evaluate the reach, work, and visibility envelopes. Analysis entails partially-immersive or fully-immersive experiences for the user. The former permits the human engineer designer to evaluate the design from the observer’s perspective by means of a computer screen. The latter allows the designer to see and touch the elements of the human model.
The ANVIL uses a variety of virtual reality and human engineering software including CAD packages for model translation and modification; virtual reality tools; and human factors analysis applications. Supporting hardware consists of high-end workstations and virtual reality input/output devices such as gloves, navigation aids, head- mounted display monitors, body position sensors, and auditory simulators. MSFC has used the ANVIL’s capabilities for spacelab hardware design, International Space Station (ISS) hardware development of extra-vehicle activity, ground support of propulsion systems, and workstation layout. The ANVIL also supports immersive collaboration over networks which allows users in remote locations to interactively train with one another, while being monitored by training personnel.
The ANVIL provides a virtual reality environment so users can evaluate interface designs and determine the most effective setup prior to actual contact. Since establishing this virtual innovations laboratory, MSFC has realized significant savings in design time and fabrication costs.
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