Shana Smith, College of Education, (515) 294-8528
Cathy Curtis, College of Education, (515) 294-8175
Kevin Brown, News Service, (515) 294-8986
ISU PROFESSOR RECEIVES $860,000 GRANT FROM NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION FOR VIRTUAL REALITY DESIGN PROGRAM
AMES, Iowa -- An Iowa State University industrial technology professor has earned an $860,000, three-year grant from the National Science Foundation for a computer program that produces three-dimensional stereoscopic images and a low-cost virtual reality technology package for high school and college product design and technical graphics classrooms.
Shana Smith, assistant professor of industrial education and technology, said the changing nature of technical design and competitive pressures in manufacturing sparked her interest in developing low-cost virtual reality technology.
"Changing market needs, advances in technology and the shift from drafting to design, problem-solving, presentation and communication points to the critical need to integrate virtual reality tools into design and technical graphics classrooms beginning in high school," Smith said.
Smith and Adrian Sannier, associate director of the Virtual Reality Applications Center, are developing a software program, suitable for design classroom use, which will create realistic, three-dimensional images on personal computers. The program will help students understand the spatial relationships in designs and give students a clearer picture of the distances between components.
The project includes introducing and testing the technology at two community colleges -- Iowa Central Community College, Fort Dodge, and Des Moines Area Community
College, Des Moines. The grant will also pay for high-tech projectors that enhance the three-dimensional images for students at Iowa State and both community colleges.
Feedback from all of the test users -- including students in Smith's own technical design classes -- will be the basis for improving complementing instructional materials that will be made available to graphics and design educators nationally via a project Web site or a CD-ROM.
Ann Thompson, professor of curriculum and instructional technology, is also working on the project.
Ames, Iowa 50011, (515) 294-4111
Published by: University Relations,
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