Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Judy M. Vance


The purpose of this research is to develop methods to support manual virtual assembly using haptic (force) feedback in a virtual environment. The results of this research will be used in an engineering framework for assembly simulation, training, and maintenance. The key research challenge is to advance the ability of users to assemble complex, low clearance CAD parts as they exist digitally without the need to create expensive physical prototypes. The proposed method consists of a Virtual Reality (VR) system that combines voxel collision detection and boundary representation methods into a hybrid algorithm containing the necessary information for both force feedback and constraint recognition. The key to this approach will be successfully developing the data structure and logic needed to switch between collision detection and constraint recognition while maintaining a haptic refresh rate of 1000 Hz.

VR is a set of unique technologies that support human-centered computer interaction. Experience with current VR systems that simulate low clearance assembly operations with haptic feedback indicate that such systems are highly desirable tools in the evaluation of preliminary designs, as well as virtual training and maintenance processes. This work will result in a novel interface for assembly methods prototyping, and an interface that will allow intuitive interaction with parts based on a powerful combination of analytical, visual and haptic tools.

Copyright Owner

Daniela Faas



Date Available


File Format


File Size

126 pages