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Diploma in Sensory Virtual Reality

Explore new worlds as we explain how sensory experiences are designed for virtual reality in this free online course.

Publisher: NPTEL
This free online course delves into sensory experiences in virtual reality (VR). We show you how audio signals can be manipulated to mimic acoustic behavior encountered in the real world and how the sense of touch can be engaged to enhance the experience of interacting with onscreen interfaces. We also introduce you to VR interfaces, the evaluation of VR systems and experimental designs that can create an immersive sense of realism.
Diploma in Sensory Virtual Reality
  • Duration

    6-10 Hours
  • Students

  • Accreditation






View course modules


Vision is a powerful sense and displays provide stimuli for the eyes so this course investigates their connection to the human visual system. We also cover haptics, the sense of touch that helps humans intuitively experience their immediate environment and use tools. We study the sense of touch as part of the body’s somatosensory system as we combine physiology, perception and engineering technology to create immersive virtual realities. This course teaches you the basic principles behind haptic rendering, tactile receptor types, the sensitivity threshold of mechanoreceptors and the kinesthetic system. We also show you various haptic devices that enable manual interaction with virtual environments while we explain how haptic feedback technology works.

The course then moves on to sound sources and attenuation. Developers of VR systems tend to focus mainly on vision because it is our strongest sense but the audio component of VR is powerful and technology that can bring high fidelity audio experiences into VR exists and sound is often crucial to art, entertainment and communication. This course unpacks the physics of sound in terms of waves, propagation and frequency analysis as hearing is an important sense for VR. We examine the physiology of human hearing and discuss the parts of the human ear and their function to help you understand auditory rendering, which can produce sounds synthetically from models or by reproducing captured sounds.

We then take a close look at VR systems and consider questions such as: ‘Which headset is better?’, ‘Which VR experience is more comfortable over a long period of time?’, ‘How many fields of view is enough?’ and ‘What is the most appropriate interaction mechanism?'. Engineers and developers crave answers to such questions but are hindered by the ways that human physiology and perception interact with engineered systems. We debate these questions and show you examples of perceptual training to demonstrate how you can create an experimental design to achieve realism. We introduce you to general motor learning and control, including manipulation, locomotion and ways in which users may interact with other objects in the virtual world. A background in computer science, electrical/mechanical engineering, neuroscience and psychology would be useful coming into this course. This course offers great opportunities to those interested in creating their own VR system or who want to learn how this cutting-edge technology creates compelling virtual experiences. VR could well be the ‘next Big Thing’ in terms of gaming, storytelling and education so sign up to ride the crest of the new wave.

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