What is VR? Virtual Reality June2016

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What Is Virtual Reality (VR)?
24rd anniversary revisionJune 2016Honolulu mini-Maker Faire

Jerry Isdale, isdale@gmail.com

Basic Definition

Virtual Reality is a computer generated immersive environment that allows users agency and engenders presence.

Immersive, Agency, Presence ?

Marketing and Press stretch definitions into wide spectrum of uncertainty.

Some Word Definitions

Immersion - perception of being physically present in a non-physical world

Presence Feeling of being There, Realism

Agency having control of view and actions

Haptics sense of touch

Proprioception sense of body position

Affordances perceived action possibilities

Reality-Virtuality Continuum of Mixed Reality

Milgram et al, revised by Ron Azuma, etc

Augmented Reality
CGI over Real World

Mixed Fantasy Framework
Stapleton et al Applying Mixed Reality to Entertainment IEEE Computer Dec 2002

Agency in VR

Agency == Interactivity

Surround Images/Video passive viewer position (look around, dont move)

Surround Video with teleporting (limited move)

Immersive Environment free motion, limited object interaction (move some objects)

Immersive Environment with full agency and interaction (move, destroy, build)

Affordances what can you do?

Head Mounted Displays HMDs

CastAR Projection HMD

Domes, CAVE

Visual Depth Perception

Static MonocularOcclusion, Size, Perspective, Shading

StereopsisBinocular stereo

Motion Parallax

Oculomotor cuesAccomodation (eye shape)

Convergence (eye pointing)


Position + Orientation

Head, Controllers

Eye TrackingFovial Rendering

Hands & Body



Very important to experience

Environmental, Effects, Mood Music

SpatializationInteraural time/intensity

Pineal shape

Speech Generation

Speech Recognition


TactileTemperature, curvature, vibration

Kinematic ForceForce feedback


Motion Platforms

World Design

3D Modeling

World Assembly

BehaviorsAfforances (perceived) action possibilities; what can you do?

VR EnginesUnity, UnReal, CryEngine, Lumberyard, WorldViz, etc

Storytelling, Narrative Cues

Usability Design

Lots of Literature on Building Worlds Research it!Brenda Laurel


VR Applications




Architectural/Engineering Design

Information VisualizationKnowledge Management

VR Business

Not Games

WhatIsVR 2016 - isdale@gmail.com