The VrTool computer program enables its user to rapidly develop a prototype virtual-reality (VR) application program. Users of VR application programs need software that can help them keep pace with the rapidly evolving VR field. None of the previously commercially available VR software tool kits affords rapid-prototyping capabilities because all require users to generate their own code. This makes it necessary for users to engage in a tedious learning process to gain understanding of the application-program-generation process, which is also tedious.

VrTool offers a high-level user interface that makes it unnecessary for its user to engage in a tedious learning process; only minimal amount of learning time is necessary, and so the user can begin creating a VR environment almost immediately. As far as is known, no previously commercially available VR program offers a user interface that gives the user such a capability. The VrTool software would benefit any industry in which VR applications are used for simulations; examples of such industries include the aerospace, education, and medical industries.

VrTool includes four components: (1) a controller, which controls all other VR processes; (2) a renderer, which displays graphical information; (3) a collision-detection processor, which determines whether there are collisions among objects; and (4) a user-interface subprogram, which builds the VR scene. VrTool was developed for Silicon Graphics workstations and includes drivers for VR peripherals.

This work was done by J. Mark Voss of the Lincom Corporation for Johnson Space Center.