Image  Department of Manufacturing & Industrial Engineering
 University of Peradeniya

AR/VR Teaching Factory Research Cluster

DMIE AR/VR Teaching Factory Research Cluster aims at introducing state-of-the-art Laboratory-based education to our staff, students, as well as for the stakeholders in the industry. The bachelor’s course at the DMIE consists of wide spectrum of practical sessions which include conventional manual machine tools / equipment to expensive CNC based machine tools and industrial robotics etc.

Especially for the beginners, the high complexity of using some of the machines has become a hindrance to explore their functionality while maintaining safe interactions. Presently, these practical often focuses on reproducing routine operations. Rarely the students are given the opportunity to think about the meaning and purposes for their practical session. Students generally do not have time or opportunity to interact and reflect on central ideas in the practical session since they are usually involved in technical activities. Students are allowed only limited opportunities to interact during the practical sessions, as most of the practical are oriented in individual basis. Furthermore, in the recent times, the importance of considering the students’ geographically distributed orientation has become vital. Manufacturing industry too currently face challenges to give on job training to their new comers due to safety concerns, risks involved and they also could not afford to have separate units allocated to training of hi-tech equipment.


Student team members


Ongoing Research projects

  1. Computer based remote controller implementation for the CNC operations. This project focuses more on the aspect of a real experience to remote students. A video and audio broadcast provides the remote students with the feeling of being present at the location where the CNC operation is carried out. With the visual feedback, the students can supervise the operations. The system records the data required for the performance evaluation.

  2. Human Factor Engineering project focuses on using simulated machine operations for human factors assessment and method improvements, particularly when humans collaborate with robots. We already are equipped with robot simulation software and our internal staff is working on introducing real human operators using VR so the potential human factor related issues can be recognized and rectified. This is an important function of the learning factory since we do not have to overcome the complexity of testing actual human-machine interactions in the robotics environments where there can be some risks to humans being tested.

Completed projects

  1. Developing an AR based learning application for lathe practical session. This application covers the introduction to the machine parts, overview of the turning and drilling operations. The ultimate aim would be to provide the student with a beneficial experience about the Lathe machine parts and the operations using AR/VR technologies even though the student cannot physically be in the university.

  2. AR/VR Lab Installation. Accomplishing the major milestone of the Teaching Factory Project of the DMIE, the AR/VR Lab at the DMIE was declared open on the 30th of July, 2021. The VR hardware for the Lab was fully sponsored by the Association for Professor Sanath Ranthunga Memorial Fund (APSRMF). Madam Ranatunga, Mr Gamini De Alwis (President of the APSRMF), Mr T.G.Weerasinghe (Treasurer of the APSRMF), and some family members of Late Professor Sanath Ranathunga were present in a charm ceremony to mark this event. Some of the DMIE staff members also attended the event.

    We at the DMIE believe that enabling undergraduates not only to imagine but also to visualize and interact with the theoretical concepts can enhance the motivation during the educational process. The AR/VR Lab of the DMIE is introducing the state-of-the-art Laboratory-based education to our staff, students, as well as for stakeholders in the industry. Both our staff and students have shown very keen interest in the development of the Engineering Program using AR/VR Technology. The opening of the AR/VR Lab is bringing more energy to the team to very actively participate in the development of the Engineering Program using this novel technology.

    DMIE is continuing to adopt AR/VR to transform Engineering Education. The Lab presently consists of VR hardware and software to simulate lathe operation, autonomous factory, machine troubleshooting, and lockout-tagout process. During the next phase, we at DMIE want to accelerate the application of AR/VR in various areas of the engineering program: understanding products and processes by allowing to interacting with them, product designing and assembling, conducting remote machine training under experts, interacting with other undergraduates in the design and evaluation of products and processes. Followed by the successful implementation of the AR/VR Lab at the DMIE, DMIE is now interested in accelerating the project by gaining more undergraduates' participation.

    AR/VR Lab AR/VR Lab
    AR/VR Lab AR/VR Lab

Outcomes of AV/VR Research Cluster

    Outcomes/ Publications

    • Yoshika Alahakoon, Asela K. Kulatunga, “Review on Adaptation of Augmented reality as Training & Learning Methods in Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering”, Int. J. of Virtual Technology and Multimedia (in press) September 2021.

    • Yoshika Alahakoon, Asela K. Kulatunga, “Augmented Reality application as a e-Learning tool to teach Manufacturing Engineering during COVID 19 Social Distancing”, The Engineer Journal, The Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka, (in-press) October 2021.