Developing Virtual Reality Applications

Developing Virtual Reality Applications

Foundations of Effective Design

1st Edition - June 2, 2009

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  • Authors: Alan B. Craig, William R. Sherman, Jeffrey D. Will
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780123749437
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080959085

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Virtual Reality systems enable organizations to cut costs and time, maintain financial and organizational control over the development process, digitally evaluate products before having them created, and allow for greater creative exploration. In this book, VR developers Alan Craig, William Sherman, and Jeffrey Will examine a comprehensive collection of current,unique, and foundational VR applications in a multitude of fields, such as business, science, medicine, art, entertainment, and public safety among others.An insider’s view of what works, what doesn’t work, and why, Developing Virtual Reality Applications explores core technical information and background theory as well as the evolution of key applications from their genesis to their most current form. Developmental techniques are cross-referenced between different applications linking information to describe overall VR trends and fundamental best practices. This synergy, coupled with the most up to date research being conducted, provides a hands-on guide for building applications, and an enhanced, panoramic view of VR development. Developing Virtual Reality Applications is an indispensable one-stop reference for anyone working in this burgeoning field.

Key Features

  • Dozens of detailed application descriptions provide practical ideas for VR development in ALL areas of interest!
  • Development techniques are cross referenced between different application areas, providing fundamental best practices!


Professionals and researchers in Virtual Reality, including hardware and software developers and engineers. Practitioners concerned with modeling and visualization as well as managers in industry that are looking for and evaluating enabling technologies

Table of Contents

  • CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Virtual Reality
    1.1 What is virtual reality?
    1.2 The beginnings of VR
    1.2.1 Morton Heilig’s Sensorama
    1.2.2 Ivan Sutherland’s vision for computer-based virtual reality
    1.2.3 Myron Krueger’s videoplace
    1.2.4 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    1.2.5 Electronic Visualization Lab at the University of Illinois at Chicago
    1.3 VR paradigms
    1.4 Collaboration
    1.5 Virtual reality systems
    1.5.1 Hardware
    1.5.2 Software
    1.6 Representation
    1.7 User interaction
    1.7.1 Interaction Techniques
    1.7.2 Making selections
    1.7.3 Manipulating the virtual world
    1.7.4 Navigation

    CHAPTER 2 Applying Virtual Reality
    2.1 Virtual reality: the medium
    2.2 Form and genre
    2.3 What makes an application a good candidate for VR
    2.4 Promising application fields
    2.4.1 Virtual prototyping
    2.4.2 Architectural walkthroughs
    2.4.3 Visualization
    2.4.4 Training
    2.4.5 Entertainment
    2.4.6 Other application genres
    2.5 Demonstrated benefits of virtual reality
    2.6 More recent trends in virtual reality application development
    2.6.1 Converting extant applications to virtual reality without having access to the application code
    2.6.2 Developing virtual reality applications with game engines
    2.6.3 Low-cost input devices
    2.6.4 Cluster-based compute engines and high-performance graphics acceleration
    2.6.5 Passive stereo displays
    2.6.6 Augmented reality and handheld devices
    2.6.7 Wireless interaction and optical tracking
    2.6.8 More senses
    2.6.9 Multiperson virtual and augmented reality
    2.6.10 Tiled displays
    2.6.11 Head-based projection
    2.6.12 Tele-immersion
    2.7 A framework for VR application development
    About the applications in this book

    CHAPTER 3 Business and Manufacturing
    3.1 Areas of application
    3.1.1 Product development
    3.1.2 Business education
    3.1.3 Marketing
    3.2 Other and future usage of VR in business and manufacturing

    CHAPTER 4 Science Applications
    4.1 Areas of application
    4.1.1 Exploration
    4.1.2 Physical system simulation and interaction
    4.1.3 Areas of application in science

    CHAPTER 5 Medical Applications
    5.1 Areas of application

    CHAPTER 6 Education Applications
    6.1 Areas of application
    6.2 Other and future uses

    CHAPTER 7 Public Safety and Military Applications
    7.1 Areas of application
    7.1.1 Equipment operation training

    CHAPTER 8 Art
    8.1 Areas of application
    8.1.1 Design and sketching
    8.1.2 Exploration of the medium
    8.1.3 Empathetic experiences
    8.1.4 Exploration of the human condition
    8.1.5 Other and future usage of VR in art

    CHAPTER 9 Entertainment Applications
    9.1 Areas of application
    9.1.1 Games
    9.1.2 Interactive fiction
    9.1.3 Creative expression
    9.1.4 Entertainment production

    CHAPTER 10 Putting It All Together
    10.1 Executive summary
    10.2 Introduction
    10.3 The database fields
    10.4 Finding applications with specific characteristics
    10.4.1 Showing all the characteristics of a specific application
    10.4.2 Application taxonomies

Product details

  • No. of pages: 448
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Morgan Kaufmann 2009
  • Published: June 2, 2009
  • Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780123749437
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080959085

About the Authors

Alan B. Craig

Dr. Alan B. Craig is an independent consultant in Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Visualization, and High Performance Computing. Prior to this role, he contributed much to these fields during his thirty-year career at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) as a Research Scientist at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and as Senior Associate Director for Human-Computer Interaction at the Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts, and Social Science (I-CHASS). Among his other consulting roles, he is currently engaged with the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE). Dr. Craig has been called upon to speak as an expert in VR and AR at countless worldwide events and continues to speak at various venues. He has taught classes related to VR and AR online as well as onsite at universities, companies, and high school campuses. Dr. Craig has worked with government and industry entities regarding VR and AR applications. He has been interviewed by numerous publications, television, and news outlets. In addition to Understanding Virtual Reality (with William R. Sherman) he also authored Developing Virtual Reality Applications (with William R. Sherman and Jeffrey D. Will) and Understanding Augmented Reality. Additionally, he has written multiple book chapters and articles. He has developed many virtual reality and augmented reality applications in content areas ranging from archaeology to zoology. He also teaches and advises on related topics. His primary focus has been on the use of virtual reality and augmented reality in educational applications and his work centers on the continuum between the physical and the digital. He holds three patents.

Affiliations and Expertise

Independent Consultant, Inventor, Musician, Author, Scientist, Teacher

William R. Sherman

Jeffrey D. Will

Dr. Jeff Will is an Associate Professor at Valparaiso University. He received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2002, he was named the Fredrick F. Jenny Professor of Emerging Technology in Engineering. He established the college’s Scientific Visualization Laboratory, where he has directed students in major research projects and taught VR technology and programming courses to undergraduates as well as aided faculty from other disciplines to integrate VR into their curricula.

Affiliations and Expertise

Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Valparaiso University, IN, USA

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