VR Pipefitter Math

// virtual reality training simulation

For this project, we were tasked to develop a virtual reality experience to train pipefitting apprentices on the mathematical formulas and concepts needed to accurately calculate a length of a pipe. We created an experience where students link real-world measurements with mathematical formulas, making calculations more tangible. This approach lets us assess content knowledge directly, boost engagement, and improve learning outcomes.

Company. TransfrVR

Timeframe. 4 months


  • Lead XR/VR Designer
  • Designed and prototyped math VR concepts
  • Produced 3D assets for math formulas
  • Designed and coded dimension UI
  • Collaborated with pipefitting instructors, instructional designers, Unity developers & business stakeholders

Research & Precedents


  • Study the current VR math games to analyze their methods and efficacy
  • Look at our company's past sims that involved math and study what worked or didn't work
  • Familiarize ourselves with current teaching ideologies, such as the Contextual Teaching and Learning (CTL) approach and Realistic Mathematics Education (RME)


  • Traditional math education focuses on repetitive practice problems which lack real-world relevance and can lead to low student engagement.
  • The VR applications currently available often focus on making math feel like a game, with features like shooting numbers with a laser or throwing balls - this approach removes the math from its context.
  • Using a calculator can introduce mistakes in math that aren't related to the concept of the problem, making it difficult to see how much a student really knows during a test.
  • Using a calculator in VR is not an intuitive or enjoyable experience.
VR calculator
Math flashcards
VR Math Game


Create immersive scenarios that used VR to place the mathematical numbers and operators in the context of the problem helping connect the real-world measurements with the formulas and concepts being taught.

Miro Board to gather and organize ideas (Credit: Stanton Nash)
ShapesXR to prototype using tablets and whiteboards in a physical space (Credit: Stanton Nash)

VR Math for Pharmaceutical Technicians

Pharmacy technicians frequently gather data from different sources and apply formulas to ensure accurate medication dosages. This design concept teaches trainees how to obtain information from medication bottles and a patient's file to calculate the correct medication dosage.

VR Math for Pipefitter Calculations

This design teaches trainees how measured values in their physical environment relate to mathematical formulas for accurately calculating cut dimensions. Users measure dimensions to create virtual tablets which are then placed formulas on a virtual whiteboard. The resulting measurements are then applied back in the physical space to let the trainee mark off the correct cut dimension.

Concept sketches for the formulas and dimension tablets

Project Objectives

  • Teach trainees how to calculate a travel cut piece to connect two offset pipes
  • Teach trainees how to obtain values and apply them in common pipefitting formulas
  • Teach trainees the proper technique for measuring dimensions
  • Teach the trainee geometry and vocabulary concepts
  • Assess how well the trainee understands the training content

Constraints & Processes

  • The end users are pipefitter apprentices who have very little experience with VR
  • Interactions and systems are limited to what is available in the Transfr SDK
  • Simulation iterations are reviewed by instructional designers and subject matter experts to ensure learning efficacy

Design Elements

We developed and user-tested a design system that provides designers with foundational building blocks to ensure a user experience that is that is consistent and effectively teaches learning objectives.

Immediate feedback is provided to users when they press the equals button in an equation they have completed to assess the student's knowledge.

Final Simulation

To teach and assess mathematical pipefitting concepts, we augmented typical pipe setups with diagrams, dimension tablets, and interactive formulas. With the power of VR, trainees can play with the physical measurements, enhancing their understanding of how they relate to mathematical formulas.

What I learned.

VR facilitates the learning of abstract concepts. Overlaying diagrams and contextual information creates a direct spatial connection between conceptual information and its real-world application.

Physical interactions can aid in forming learning connections. The physical act of creating a dimension value through accurate measurement and placing it in the proper place in the proper location of a formula reinforces the steps of a real-world mathematical process.

VR training can extend beyond direct simulations. Our past training simulations demonstrated VR's efficacy in teaching procedures that mirror real-world scenarios. VR allows students to experience features that are not possible in real life to augment the learning experience.


Tools Used

Unity icon3DMax  iconPhotoshop iconAfterEffects icon