Understanding Virtual Reality

Interface, Application, and Design


  • William R. Sherman, Technical Director, Center for Advanced Visualization, Computation and Modeling Desert Research Institute, Reno, NV, USA
  • William R. Sherman, Technical Director, Center for Advanced Visualization, Computation and Modeling Desert Research Institute, Reno, NV, USA
  • Alan B. Craig
  • Alan B. Craig

Understanding Virtual Reality arrives at a time when the technologies behind virtual reality have advanced to the point that it is possible to develop and deploy meaningful, productive virtual reality applications. The aim of this thorough, accessible exploration is to help you take advantage of this moment, equipping you with the understanding needed to identify and prepare for ways VR can be used in your field, whatever your field may be.

By approaching VR as a communications medium, the authors have created a resource that will remain relevant even as the underlying technologies evolve. You get a history of VR, along with a good look at systems currently in use. However, the focus remains squarely on the application of VR and the many issues that arise in the application design and implementation, including hardware requirements, system integration, interaction techniques, and usability. This book also counters both exaggerated claims for VR and the view that would reduce it to entertainment, citing dozens of real-world examples from many different fields and presenting (in a series of appendices) four in-depth application case studies.

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Scientists, Engineers, Artists (within eg computer science, art, architecture, archeology, medicine, scientific visualization, industrial manufacturing)


Book information

  • Published: September 2002
  • ISBN: 978-1-55860-353-0


"Understanding Virtual Reality is truly the most complete reference book to emerge from the VR field in the past ten years." —Tom DeFanti, Professor University of Illinois at Chicago, Co-Inventor of the CAVE (R) "Understanding Virtual Reality is the introduction to the medium of VR that we have all been desiring for our beginning courses." —Michael Zyda, Director, The MOVES Institute "A comprehensive overview of virtual reality technologies and techniques. Using real-world examples from diverse fields, the book makes a case for VR as an increasingly effective and applicable communications medium. With its broad scope, straightforward style and companion instructional Web site, this book would make an excellent introductory text for students exploring virtual reality applications." - Design Issues

Table of Contents

Foreword PrefacePart I - What is Virtual Reality?Chapter 1: Introduction to Virtual Reality - What it is and Where it Comes FromChapter 2: VR the MediumPart II - Virtual Reality Systems Chapter 3: Interface to the Virtual World -- Input Chapter 4: Interface to the Virtual World -- Output Chapter 5: Rendering a Virtual World Chapter 6: Interacting with a Virtual World Chapter 7: Virtual Reality Experience Chapter 8: Experience Design: Applying VR to a ProblemChapter 9: What Dreams May Come: The Future of VR AppendicesA: NICE educational application (EVL) B: Crumbs visualization application (NCSA)C: Aircraft wiring application (Boeing, Inc.) D: Placeholder artistic application (Interval Research)