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!
  • Includes a media-rich companion website with hours of footage from application demonstrations


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 manufac


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© 2009
Morgan Kaufmann
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About the authors

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