This paper presents the development of a PC-based 3D human computer interface for virtual assembly applications. This system is capable of importing complex CAD (Computer Aided Design) models, rendering them in stereo, and implementing haptic force feedback for realistic part interaction in virtual environments. Such an application will facilitate wider acceptance of the use of a VR interface for prototyping assembly tasks. This interface provides both visual and haptic feedback to the user, while allowing assembly tasks to be performed on a desktop virtual environment. The network module has the ability to communicate with multiple VR systems (such as CAVE etc.) at geographically dispersed locations using a non-dedicated network channel. The potential benefits of such a system include identification of assembly issues early in the design process where changes can be made easily, resulting in a more efficient and less costly product design process.

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