Featuring Asst. Professor of Computer Graphics Technology Magesh Chandramouli and his focus on applying virtual reality to digital manufacturing
Assistant Professor of Computer Graphics Technology Magesh Chandramouli of PNW’s Department of Computer Information Technology and Graphics is the lead PI of an $881,425 grant the College of Technology has received from the National Science Foundation in support of the digital manufacturing-oriented Project MANEUVER (Manufacturing Education Using Virtual Environment Resources).
The grant is being used to develop an affordable, virtual reality framework in response to the demand for well-trained, digital manufacturing technologists. Employment projections indicate a decline in conventional manufacturing jobs, but marked growth in digital manufacturing positions.
In the following Q&A profile, Professor Chandramouli discusses digital manufacturing and Project MANEUVER.
Q: What are your primary teaching areas as Assistant Professor of Computer Graphics Technology?
MC: My primary teaching areas include 3D modeling, Animation, Raster/Vector Graphics, Digital Lighting and Digital Rendering.
Q: How did you become interested in digital manufacturing?
MC: I have always been interested in applying my computer graphics skills in useful ways that can positively impact our community. Of late, digital manufacturing has been significantly reshaping both the industrial and academic communities at a global scale. Hence, it is imminent that technicians are well-trained to exploit this digital marketing boom, and VR (virtual reality) serves as a stimulating and interactive medium to accomplish this.
Q: What exactly is digital manufacturing, and how does it differ from conventional manufacturing?
MC: Digital manufacturing (DM) is an umbrella term that represents the use of computer-based manufacturing tools and techniques for planning, designing, visualizing, and optimizing products and processes. Digital manufacturing offers advantages such as cost benefits, material conservation, minimized labor and enhanced precision.
Q: Provide some examples of products manufactured digitally?
MC: Digitally manufactured products are used in numerous industries such as consumer products, automation, aerospace, electronics, robotics, mechatronics, defense, space and many others.
Q: Why are digital manufacturing jobs on the rise?
MC: Advances in DM technologies have revolutionized key aspects of manufacturing including design, development, testing, etc. Succeeding in today’s competitive manufacturing scenario entails advanced DM techniques, especially when industries worldwide are applying advanced practices such as highly specialized design and varied product life cycles.
Q: RE: your Project MANEUVER grant, you have indicated that you plan to develop a virtual reality instructional framework. In layman’s terms, why is the development of such a framework so important?
MC: By providing a comprehensive setting for product design and optimized production, DM offers advantages such as cost benefits, material conservation, minimized labor and enhanced precision. Hence, there is an imminent need to educate our future workforce with the skills required to meet the DM boom. Currently, there is no clearly defined career and educational pathway(s) for preparing entry-level technicians in DM. The faculty partners will capitalize on prior experience in VR and manufacturing projects to design user-friendly DM instructional modules.