Virtual assembly (VA) based on virtual reality (VR) is a key technique of virtual manufacturing. It provides not only an intuitive and interactive interface for virtual product design, but also an efficient method to analyze or verify assembly performance of these products. Preliminary investigations of constructing a VA system were implemented in this paper. There were three key techniques in constructing a VA system, which were data transformation from CAD system to VA system, collision detection, and virtual manipulation with a virtual hand. These key techniques were analyzed further and their concrete algorithms were given. At last an experimental VA system was set‐up to verify these algorithms. It is proved that the transformed data are sufficient, which can satisfy the VA system's requirement; the collision detection algorithm is efficient as it assures the system to be real time; and the virtual manipulation algorithm guarantees the system's reality and maneuverability.
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