Back in Spring of 2009 (almost 3 years ago!), I took a very interesting Virtual Reality course offered by Dr. Benjamin Lok in my department. The course basically involves creating Virtual Reality projects. I ended up creating 4 which took a lot of work but which in the end were worth the effort. Here are the four projects I worked on (click on the links for more detailed info/video):
- Using ARToolkit to demonstrate how touch-screens work:
We had to come up with a way to use ARToolkit (Augmented Reality). I thought of attaching some AR markers to a Nintendo DS and demonstrating how 3 different kinds of touch-screens work (resistive, capacitive and infrared). Written in C
- Virtual Reality experience: Rescuing someone from a fire:
Now we started getting into the heavy stuff. We had to create a Virtual Reality 3D experience using a Head-Mounted Display, object tracking and small space. At the suggestion of my teammate, colleague and friend we ended up using the Ogre 3D Engine for the project. We also used Google SketchUp models and wrote the program in C++.
- VR experience: Target practice on a military base:
This was my favorite project. We (me and my colleague Aritra Nath) created “virtual” shooting, where we attached a marker to a Nintendo Wiimote (which was in a gun shell, and you pressed the trigger to shoot). We had an actual barrier in the real-world which was nearly pixel-accurate in the virtual world (well, not quite). Used Ogreand Sketchup again.
- New VR Interface for doing 3D landscaping around a house:
The 4th project involved creating a VR experience where the user could “create” new content. My team ended up creating a way to do 3D landscaping only using fingers and a wiimote. Used the same tools as before.
I consider myself lucky that I was able to take such a course. Though it was kind of grueling at times (especially since all the teams had to share the virtual reality hardware), it was also fun and rewarding at the end.