[MOOC Course Review] Introduction to Virtual Reality {on Udacity}

Introduction to Virtual Reality


Lesson 1-3: Introduction

VR device deploys IMU (inertial measurement unit), to track its rotation. To track its location, it sometimes uses a camera, lasers, precise clocks, magnetic fields.

Challenges in creating high quality VR – simulator sickness

3D display technology, started from the stereoscope in 1838, then Sword of Damocles (first VR device by Ivan Sutherland in MIT in 1968; also first augmented reality display device), then 1990s VR first promoted to the public audience (thanks to NASA and VPL), but soon because of the technology limitation, the heat shrank to be limited to academic and military use. In 2012, a kick-starter announced a new inexpensive VR device called Oculus Rift. Oculus was then acquired by Facebook with 2 billion dollars.

3 DOF (degrees of freedom) and 6 DOF tracking

DOF deals with how accurate the VR system can track you. 3 DOF enables the tracking of your movement along x axis, y axis, and z axis (your head movement is tracked). This is what most mobile VR platforms do. 6 DOF tracking allows the track your movement around the room (track your head movement and your position).

Oculu uses Constellation tracking system, while HTC VIVE uses lighthouse tracking system, which uses infrared lasers. In both cases, there is an eye device and a ground device.

Unity is a popular choice of game engine, used to develop VR environment. For most developers of VR, Unity is enough. Or WebVR, but currently not good enough for production use.


Lesson 4: Handy Practices

Now, the introduction is over until lesson 3. Starting from lesson 4, a new instructor will start telling you how to install Unity and start developing VR.

Not much was told actually through this short lesson about how exactly to build a VR experience as a developer. But they did tell you how to prepare the environment for such development, both on the PC and on the mobile phone.



To Conclude

In general, it is an interesting MOOC. But it is very limited knowledge that they are presenting. Or to put it in another way, it is a very beginner class with very beginning introduction. Through this four lessons, you will be able to understand:

  • What is VR? Its history and development.
  • How does VR function to track the head movement and your positions in the space?
  • How to install Unity on your machine?
  • What is Unity platform interface like?
  • How to create a VR experience using Unity platform?


Link to the course: https://eu.udacity.com/course/introduction-to-virtual-reality–ud1012

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