Virtual Reality of Wood Protection

IRG/WP 23-20698

D Feng, Y Liu, M Turner, A Limaye, P D Evans

Virtual reality (VR) is a technology that allows people to explore and interact with computer generated environments using devices that stimulate different senses (sight, sound and touch). VR is mainly used for education, training and entertainment, but it also has the potential to provide new insights into scientific phenomena. In this paper we describe the evolution of VR and its many uses, focussing on those that are most relevant to wood protection. We describe our work on the use of VR as a learning tool for students taking a course in wood protection. Students taking this course used a fully immersive VR device to explore and interact with realistic computer-generated X-ray micro-computed tomography animations of the micro-structure of the following timbers: (a) The silica-containing, marine-borer resistant wood, satinay (Syncarpia hillii F.M. Bailey); (b) Southern pine (Pinus spp.) treated with either a micronized water-borne wood preservative or an ionic alkaline copper quaternary preservative. Students were surveyed to assess their views on the system as a learning tool. The results showed that students were very positive about the VR system, and they frequently commented that the system was better than traditional methods at aiding understanding of wood microstructure and protection. We discuss the limitations and future potential of our VR system as a learning tool for wood protection.

Keywords: virtual reality, X-ray micro-computed tomography, student learning, wood protection, satinay, southern pine, silica, copper, MCA, ACQ

Conference: 23-05-28/06-01 Cairns, Australia

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