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Virtual Reality Basic Learning Path - What is real? What is virtual? In which world am I wandering?

Virtual Reality Basic Learning Path - What is real? What is virtual? In which world am I wandering?

Have you ever dreamed of visiting the inside of a pyramid, singing on stage with the Beatles or hunting for treasure on a lost island, trying to escape pirates? This may sound impossible at first, but with a little help of technology, all this is now made feasible.  

Thanks to the evolution and miniaturization of hardware components and the development of image and video processing, artificial intelligence and other groundbreaking technologies, it is now possible to create virtual worlds and get plunged into them. By combining sensory information and computation and communication capabilities, technology can now immerse a user into an environment that is built from an enriched or augmented reality, or is completely built from an imaginary world, thus creating a virtual reality. Those are applied in very diverse domains, like work, education, gaming, socialization, medicine, manufacturing...

In this learning path, we are going to explore those different types of ‘realities’: virtual (VR), augmented (AR), mixed (MR) or extended (XR). We will cover the technical foundations that make the appearance of those environments possible, investigate the differences between their types, and their possible usages. We will also lightly touch upon the technical approach to their development.  

Introductory learning materials

What is Virtual Reality?

First things first, let’s start this journey by defining what is virtual reality. This article provides an overview of the main concepts behind the virtual words that technology gives access to. It differentiates between real reality and other types of technology supported realities. It also describes application domains, pros and cons, as well as a brief history of virtual reality evolution.

This other article presents a similar perspective, but adding some information and details about other types of realities (mixed or extended realities). This is just a first step, but a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. 

Introduction to Virtual Reality

Let us continue our introduction to virtual realities with this introductory course, offered by University of London. It presents the main concepts and types of virtual realities, the technologies behind, the domains in which it proves to be useful... It also includes a very interesting module on the psychology of VR, presenting what they called the three place, plausibility and embodiment illusions introduced by VR.

How immersive technologies (AR/VR) will shape our future

This TEDx talk glances into the future, and how technologies like VR or AR will change our lives, whether at work or at home. It is more presented in a prospective format, trying to anticipate how VR/AR/MR/XR can change our today’s world and shape tomorrow’s reality.

Advanced learning materials

How The Metaverse Will Change The World

Who hasn’t heard of the Metaverse, the promise of a digital world that will change our lives, the way we work, learn, eat, shop, interact...? This TEDx talk presents in 15’ the advent of the Metaverse, how it connects to the COVID19 pandemics, what it is actually, and how beneficial it will be to the society as a whole. The speaker is very enthusiast, and it will be up to everyone to make his own opinion about how good this digital universe will be... 

Intro to AR/VR/MR/XR: Technologies, Applications & Issues

If you want to dive deeper on the topic of virtual worlds, digital twins or eXtended reality and if you enjoy following a structured approach, then this online course is for you. It brings together all concepts presented in the previous resources, but discusses them in a much more detailed way, and also propose a methodology to define a strategy for adopting virtual technologies and integrating them into real-life projects.

Building your First VR Experience with Unity

This resource is the only technical one in this learning path. While others presented AR/VR/XR concepts and discussed them from a high-level perspective, we thought it was important to also include resources for those who enjoy hands-on experiences and like to get their hands dirty in implementing concrete solutions. This course available on the Udemy platform makes use of one of the widely used platform for the creation of 2D/3D worlds and interactions, namely Unity. This training will give you a sense of what it takes to create a Virtual Reality from a technical implementation perspective.

Learning path Details

Digital skill level
Digital technology / specialisation