IITM-Finland – Certificate Course on Fundamentals of Virtual Reality

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Last Date of Registration : 29th July, 2024

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SKU: IIT Madras | Start Date: August 1, 2024 Categories: ,

Description

Click here to view the Program Brochure

About this Course

Virtual reality (VR) technology transports us to real or synthetic places that may be inaccessible, breathtaking, complex beyond our wildest imagination, or just simple and relaxing. Applications include entertainment, social interaction, virtual travel, remote training, architectural walkthroughs, cultural appreciation, and learning enhancement. Although VR has been around for decades, it always came with a high cost to enter the field because of advanced, expensive equipment and computing resources. Thanks to widespread progress in display, sensing, and computational technology, the newest VR systems are cheap, lightweight, and easy to program. This has caused a flood of excitement as almost anyone can pick up a VR headset and start developing experiences.

The purpose of this course is to provide you with a deep understanding of the fundamentals of VR. Because VR tricks our brains by presenting synthetic stimuli to our senses, it is extremely challenging to develop and analyse VR systems that are both effective and comfortable. To get a handle on these issues, this course will fuse together knowledge from a variety of relevant topics, including basics in human physiology, neuroscience, and perceptual psychology, and illustrate how they impact the development of VR hardware, software, and content.

This course traces its origins back a decade, to the early days of Oculus in 2012. Two of the instructors (Dr. Steven LaValle and Dr. Anna LaValle) were early Oculus founders. The course was first offered at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, in 2014 and it has since evolved through major milestones, including the first NPTEL course at the IIT Madras in 2016 followed by extensive teaching at UIUC, USA, IIT Madras and the University of Oulu, Finland.​

The course operates on an open-source platform, and voluntary efforts of all of the instructors are in
line with the Finnish style of developing free educational materials and open-source tools to benefit everyone. Additionally, there is a free online book authored by Dr. Steven LaValle, as part of the accompanying materials.​ As a consequence, this high-quality course is offered at a very low price compared to others, making it exceptionally accessible.

This course aligns with our objective of establishing India as the leading XR hub globally. Referencing our whitepaper on the XR Gap in India (available at https:/xtic.iitm.ac.in/whitepaper), this program aims to elevate faculty/professionals/individuals with basic UNITY3D/Unreal Engine skills into XR experts. Graduates will be equipped to actively engage in XR research and development initiatives.

Course Duration : August – November 2024.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • Recall all of the components of modern VR systems.
  • Understand the interaction between the hardware, software, and human senses during an VR
    experience.
  • Understand how the choices in hardware and software components influence human perception
    and the quality of VR experiences.
  • Identify challenges facing next generation VR systems.
  • Develop a basic VR experience using Unity3D.
  • Understand and be able to apply 3d modeling, rendering, tracking, and sensor fusion methods to
    the modern XR systems.
  • Gain knowledge in human physiology and human perception in relationship to VR.
  • Understand common perceptual flaws of modern VR systems related to resolution, latency,
    frame rates, tracking, lens aberrations, drift, and jitter.
  • Critically assess a given VR system or experience, and recommend improvements.
  • Formulate a hypothesis about a VR experience, create such a VR experience in Unity3D, and
    design a human subject experiment testing the hypothesis.

Instructors

The course is developed by distinguished VR experts from IIT Madras and the University of Oulu, integrating the latest advances in VR research and industry practices.

  • Dr. M. Manivannan, Faculty at IIT Madras is renowned for his expertise in haptics, biomechanics, VR, and computer graphics, and has a rich background in teaching VR courses at the IIT Madras.
  • Dr. Kaushik Mitra, Faculty at IIT Madras is renowned for his expertise in Computational Imaging, his research focus is on Computer Vision and Machine Learning. He has been teaching Pattern Recognition course at IITM.
  • Dr. Steven LaValle, University of Oulu & IITM Visiting Faculty, is an early Oculus founder and a renowned researcher in Robotics, Motion planning and VR. Prof. Steven LaValle has also authored the textbook for the course.
  • Dr. Anna LaValle, University of Oulu & IITM Visiting Faculty, is also an early Oculus founder, has extensive experience teaching large-scale courses on VR and other computer science topics at the University of Oulu, Finland, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA.

Topics Covered

  • Overview of VR hardware: Projectors, Screens, Light Field Displays, Retinal Scanners,
    Waveguides.
  • Overview of VR systems software:
    1. 3D geometric modeling (Matrices, Euler angles, Quaternions).
    2. Rendering systems and methods (gaming engines, panoramas, telepresence).
    3. Tracking systems and methods (inside-out and inside-in tracking, camera-based methods, lighthouse, natural and artificial markers).
    4. IMU calibration, integration, sensor fusion, and basic filters.
  • Overview of Human Physiology, Neuroscience and Human perception with relationship to VR
    1. Depth and scale perception.
    2. Perception of screen resolution.
    3. Perception of motion.
    4. Perceptually optimal parameters for frame rate, latency, and drift in VR systems.
    5. Perceptual training.
    6. Comfort and VR sickness.
    7. Designing VR human subjects experiments.

Module Description

MODULE – 1 : Introduction and Bird’s-Eye View

Module Duration:

6 hours of lectures and quizzes.

Faculty Profile:

o Dr. Anna LaValle, University of Oulu & IITM Visiting Faculty
o Dr. Steve LaValle, University of Oulu & IITM Visiting Faculty.

Topics covered:

o Introduction to VR
o Definition of VR
o Historical perspective
o Birds-eye view (general)
o Birds-eye view (hardware)
o Birds-eye view (software)
o Birds-eye view (sensation and perception)

Learning Outcomes:

After completing this module, students will be able to set up and use a VR headset, run
various VR applications and gain an understanding of the critical components involved:
hardware, software and human perception. Students will also learn to critically evaluate VR
applications based on best practice guidelines for VR development.

Applications of the Module:

Students will acquire essential skills necessary for developing more effective, comfortable,
and advanced VR systems, applicable across the VR industry.

MODULE – 2 : Geometry of Virtual Worlds

Module Duration:

6 hours of lectures and quizzes.

Faculty Profile:

o Dr. Anna LaValle, University of Oulu & IITM Visiting Faculty
o Dr. Steve LaValle, University of Oulu & IITM Visiting Faculty.

Topics covered:

o Geometric modeling
o Transforming models
o Matrix algebra and 2D rotations
o 3D rotations and yaw, pitch, and roll
o Axis-angle representations
o Quaternions
o Converting and multiplying rotations
o Homogeneous transforms
o The chain of viewing transforms
o Eye transforms
o Canonical view transform
o Viewport transform

Learning Outcomes:

After completing this module, students will master matrix algebra and quaternion
operations to accurately represent and manipulate 3D models in virtual environments. They
will gain a deep understanding of how these mathematical tools are used to facilitate
complex transformations necessary for creating dynamic and interactive virtual worlds and
for rendering these worlds.

Applications of the Module:

The skills acquired in this module are applicable across a wide range of fields including
game design, computer graphics, computer vision, robotics and VR/XR applications.

MODULE – 3 : Light and Optics

Module Duration:

3 hours of lectures and quizzes.

Faculty Profile:

o Dr. Anna LaValle, University of Oulu & IITM Visiting Faculty
o Dr. Steve LaValle, University of Oulu & IITM Visiting Faculty.

Topics covered:

o Three interpretations of light
o Refraction
o Simple lenses
o Diopters
o Imaging properties of lenses
o Lens aberrations
o The human eye optical system
o Vergence-accommodation mismatch in HMDs
o A simplified HMD model

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completing this module, students will understand the physics of light propagation and
its interaction with head-mounted displays (HMDs) and the human optical system. They will
grasp how these interactions impact the quality and comfort of VR experiences, laying the
foundation for more advanced studies in optical engineering.

Applications of the Module:

This module outlines the fundamentals of optical engineering, which are crucial for the
development of next-generation VR/XR optics.

MODULE – 4 : The Physiology of Human Vision

Module Duration:

5 hours of lectures and quizzes.

Faculty Profile:

o Dr. Anna LaValle, University of Oulu & IITM Visiting Faculty
o Dr. Steve LaValle, University of Oulu & IITM Visiting Faculty.

Topics covered:

o Photoreceptors
o Light intensity
o Sufficient resolution for VR
o Eye movements
o Eye movement issues for VR
o FOV for VR
o Neuroscience of vision

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completing this module, students will understand how photoreceptors and neural
structures in the eyes and brain shape our perception of the external environment,
essentially creating an optical illusion of reality. They will also learn how understanding
human vision physiology is leveraged by VR technologies to engineer another kind of optical
illusion: immersive virtual reality experiences.

Applications of the Module:

This module covers the fundamentals of human vision physiology and neuroscience,
essential for determining key VR display requirements such as screen resolution and field of
view (FOV). These principles are crucial for VR developers to optimize the visual quality of
VR systems.

MODULE – 5 : Visual Perception

Module Duration:

5 hours of lectures and quizzes.

Faculty Profile:

o Dr. Anna LaValle, University of Oulu & IITM Visiting Faculty
o Dr. Steve LaValle, University of Oulu & IITM Visiting Faculty.

Topics covered:

o Depth perception
o Panoramas
o Motion perception
o Perception of color
o Frame rates and displays
o Judder, flicker, and retinal image slip

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completing this module, students will understand the importance of depth
perception, color perception, and motion perception on designing comfortable and effective
VR display technologies and perceptual experiences.

Applications of the Module:

This module delves into the fundamentals of perceptual processes, which are essential for
future perceptual engineers working on advanced display technologies and developing VR
experiences.

MODULE – 6 : Tracking Systems

Module Duration:

6 hours of lectures and quizzes.

Faculty Profile:

o Dr. Anna LaValle, University of Oulu & IITM Visiting Faculty
o Dr. Steve LaValle, University of Oulu & IITM Visiting Faculty.

Topics covered:

o Vestibular System
o Optic Flow
o Vection
o Orientation tracking
o Tilt drift correction
o Yaw drift correction
o Tracking with a camera
o Perspective n-point problem
o Filtering
o Lighthouse approach

Learning Outcomes:

After completing this module, the students will learn about various VR tracking systems and
the human vestibular system, to understand how motion is being tracked in real world and
in VR applications. The students will also learn how human senses interact with engineered
sensors and the mathematical models and computations needed to perform accurate
motion tracking and prevent drift.

Applications of the Module:

This module provides foundational knowledge applicable in designing tracking technologies
in various applications: from VR and Robotics to Automotive, Aerospace, and Military
applications.

MODULE – 7 : Visual Rendering

Module Duration:

4 hours of lectures and quizzes

Faculty Profile:

o Dr. M.Manivannan, Faculty, IIT Madras
o Dr. Kaushik Mitra, Faculty, IIT Madras

Topics covered:

o Definition and fundamentals of VR rendering
o Graphics Pipeline in VR
o Stereoscopic Rendering
o Various Rendering Techniques for VR
o Texture Mapping and Material Rendering
o VR-specific Rendering Challenges
o Advanced Topics in VR Rendering

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completing this module, students will have a comprehensive understanding of the
principles, techniques and challenges involved in rendering visuals for virtual reality
experiences.

Applications of the Module:

This module outlines the principles, techniques, and challenges involved in rendering visuals
for virtual reality experiences used in popular VR applications/games.

MODULE – 8 : Audio

Module Duration:

4 hours of lecture and Tutorial

Faculty Profile:

o Dr. M.Manivannan, Faculty, IIT Madras
o Dr. Kaushik Mitra, Faculty, IIT Madras

Topics covered:

o Spatial Audio Fundamental
o Spatial Audio Rendering Techniques
o Interactive Design for VR
o Sound Design for VR
o Advanced Audio Rendering Techniques

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completing this module, students will become familiar with Spatial Audio Rendering Techniques and the challenges in incorporating spatial audio in VR.

Applications of the Module:

This module outlines the fundamentals of Spatial Audio and the design challenges in incorporating audio in VR environments.

MODULE – 9 : Interfaces

Module Duration:

4 hours of lecture and Tutorial

Faculty Profile:

o Dr. M.Manivannan, Faculty, IIT Madras
o Dr. Kaushik Mitra, Faculty, IIT Madras

Topics covered:

o Overview of Different VR Interfaces
o Principles of User Experience (UX) Design for VR
o Haptic Interfaces
o Multimodal Interfaces
o Advanced Interface Design Concepts

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completing this module, students will have a proficiency in Interface Design Techniques and mastery of Interaction Modalities

Applications of the Module:

This module outlines the fundamentals of interface design and knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to design immersive and user-centric VR interfaces that enhance user experiences in VR.

MODULE – 10 : General Topics

Module Duration:

4 hours of lecture and Tutorial

Faculty Profile:

o Dr. M.Manivannan, Faculty, IIT Madras
o Dr. Kaushik Mitra, Faculty, IIT Madras
o Dr. Anna LaValle, University of Oulu & IITM Visiting Faculty.
o Dr. Steve LaValle, University of Oulu & IITM Visiting Faculty.

Topics covered:

o Challenges in VR
o VR and AI/IoT/5G/Edge/Blockchain
o VR for Training and Simulation
o VR for Healthcare
o VR for Media and Entertainment
o VR for Finance Sector
o VR for Architecture, Engineering, Construction
o Future Trends and Emerging Technologies

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completing this module, students will understand the limitations of the current VR technologies and the current trend on how it is evolving.

Applications of the Module:

This module outlines the challenges in VR and the recent trends so that the students can expect next milestones in VR.

Course Exercise

The course participants have the flexibility to use either Cardboard VR or any VR Head-Mounted Display (HMD) available with them for completing the exercises.

The course will contain a series of practical assignments focused on the following key topics:

VR Best Practices Guide:

Students will be introduced to several VR applications to assess VR comfort. This exercise is designed to familiarize with what constitutes a comfortable and user-friendly VR experience.

VR System Calibration:

The participants will evaluate the key perceptual parameters of  VR setup, including frame rate, resolution, distortion, and latency/drift. This exercise applies regardless of whether Cardboard VR or another VR HMD is used.

Developing a VR Experience in Unity:

The participants will gain hands-on experience by learning how to develop their own VR experience using Unity. This practical exercise will guide through the basics of VR development within this popular game development engine.

Evaluating Human Perception in VR:

There will be several exercises that will teach the participants how to assess the perception of depth, scale, color and motion. This will enhance one’s understanding of how virtual environments and VR will influence user perception.

Course Modality

 

  • Live classes are scheduled for 6 PM IST, three evenings a week, and will be streamed to accommodate students across various regions. Recordings will be available for those unable to attend.
  • The Live classes will feature interactive quizzes and Q&A sessions. We strongly encourage you to attend.

Learning Materials :

● Online free book: Virtual Reality, Steven M. LaValle 2016, http://lavalle.pl/vr/.
● Recorded lectures and slides: Live classes will be recorded. Recordings together with
lecture slides will be available for students to study later.

Eligibility & Fees

We expect students and faculty to come with a variety of backgrounds and we do not demand they have had particular background courses. It is important for the participants to assess whether they can handle the material. You can start by looking through the course info and the textbook.

Fees for the Workshop :

Students – Rs. 2360 (Rs. 2000 + 18% GST)

Faculty – Rs. 5900 (Rs. 5000 + 18% GST)

Working Professional – Rs. 11800 (Rs 10000 + 18% GST)

Please Note: 

Additional Cost for the campus Visit: INR 15,000 + 18% GST.

(Refer to Campus Visit tab for more details.)

Evaluation & Certification

Assignments (30%)

There will be a total of 6 practical assignments using a VR headset.

Quizzes (10 %)

There will be a total of 6 quizzes spread over the course duration. Each quiz will be open for several hours, and it will require about 30 minutes to complete.

Final Exam (30%)

There will be one online final exam that will be open for several hours and will take about 1.5 hours to complete.

Course Project (30%)

The course project will spread over the course duration, as the students learn the topics required to complete the project. Detailed instructions will be provided throughout the course.

Certification:

Certificates will be provided to those who complete all the assignments, quizzes, the final exam, and the project.

Campus Visit

We invite top 200 participants – Students, Faculty and Working Professionals who could complete all
the Assignments, Quizzes, the Final Exam and the Course Project, to visit the IIT Madras campus, interact with the instructors and visit the campus facilities.

1. Duration of the campus Visit: One Week
2. Timing of the campus Visit: After the course Completion
3. What to expect in the campus Visit: Interaction with faculty, Visit Facilities, Visit Startups and
Industries, Workshops, Interaction with Pioneers.
4. Limited Accommodation is available in the campus hostels and will be provided on a first-
come-first-serve basis. Both accommodation and travel to be taken care by the attendees.

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