Experiencing and Programming the ENIAC in VR

Enes Yigitbas, Christopher Bernal Tejedor, Gregor Engels

Virtual Reality (VR) applications are applied in various domains (e.g.
education, training, engineering or entertainment) and offer new
possibilities especially when it comes to training of complex tasks
which are not suitable or available in a real physical environment. In
this paper,we present a VR application which supports experiencing
and learning basic steps in programming the ENIAC in a virtual
environment. The ENIAC is one of the world’s first general-purpose
programmable electronic computers which occupied a 40 x 60 foot
room, weighed 30 tons, and was programmed using knobs, switches,
and cables. Our implemented VR application has twofold goals. On
the one hand it enables to re-experience an early computer and
understand its historical context and architecture. On the other
hand it demos how to program a computer in a completely different
“language” (i.e., knobs and switches) by guiding the user step-bystep
through a predefined configuration of the ENIAC.