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Introduction to Virtual Reality

Learn about the basic concepts of creating an interactive virtual reality (VR) experience in this free online course.

Publisher: NPTEL
Virtual Reality (VR) enables you to interact with an artificial environment. This course will teach you about VR and how to design a better VR system by learning various engineering concepts (hardware, software, perception) used in the current VR systems. We explore the Virtual World Generator (VWG), which maintains the geometry and physics of the virtual world. We will show you the concept of light and optics systems and their relevance to VR.
Introduction to Virtual Reality
  • Durée

    6-10 Heures
  • Students

  • Accreditation


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Virtual Reality (VR) technology is evolving rapidly, making it counterproductive to define VR in terms of specific devices that might be out of favour in a year or two. This course will teach you what VR means in a way that captures the most crucial aspects, notwithstanding the constantly evolving technologies. We look into how we have arrived at VR technology as it exists today. We discuss the history of VR with a particular focus on when VR came about and the fact that certain facets of VR have been with us for tens of thousands of years. The first step to understanding how VR works is to know what constitutes the whole VR system. It is tempting to think of it as merely hardware components, such as computers, headsets, and controllers. This definition would be woefully incomplete. We will investigate VR systems from hardware to software and then to human perception. The Virtual World Generator (VWG) will be revealed, which maintains the geometry and physics of the virtual world. The geometry aspect of VR is needed to make models and move them around. Models may include walls of houses, chairs, clouds, the avatar of the user and so on.

Suppose we define a movable model as a mesh of triangles. To move it, we add a single transformation to the vertex of every triangle. This course will first consider the simple case of translation, followed by the considerably complex case of rotations. By combining translation and rotation, the model can be placed anywhere and at any orientation in the virtual world. This course will teach you how to transform the models in the virtual world to appear on a virtual screen. The primary purpose is to set the foundation for graphical rendering, which adds effects due to lighting, material properties and quantization. We will show you the concept of a virtual camera placed in the virtual world. We will demonstrate the virtual picture that the camera takes to make VR work correctly. Furthermore, the course will consider the “camera” to be one of two virtual human eyes placed into the virtual world. What should a virtual eye see, based on its position and orientation in the virtual world? All will be disclosed in this course. You will examine the chain of transformations to place and move models in the virtual world and then have them appear in the right place on a display.

In addition to this, knowing how light travels through the real world is key to understanding VR. One of the main benefits is the interface between visual displays and our eyes. Light is emitted from displays and arrives on our retinas in a way that convincingly reproduces how light passes through a normal vision in the physical world. Another reason to study light propagation is the construction of virtual worlds. This course will model the physics of light propagation through virtual worlds, describing what should be rendered on the visual display. You will understand the fundamental physical properties of light, including its interaction with materials and its spectral properties. Finally, this course will create ideal models of how lenses work and show how lens behavior deviates from the ideal model, thereby degrading VR experiences. The concept of the human eye as an optical system of lenses is presented. This course is suitable with or without experience in VR. Those who wish to evaluate existing VR applications, design, test and implement their own VR experiences will enjoy this course.

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