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Virtual Reality - an Introduction

Course registration will be available for this course once it is scheduled.

Course Description

Virtual Reality has recently emerged as a digital technology poised to transform our lives. This course will introduce you to the unique features and promise of VR, and present the current landscape, including the fields in which VR is valued already. You will understand the powerful possibilities of this revolutionary technology, learn how VR experiences are built, and design and build your own VR production.

This course will examine a variety of Virtual Reality experiences, including games, science, educational experiences, storytelling, and art. We’ll visit groundbreaking labs on the Brown campus where VR is being used for research, such as to help archaeologists continue to study sites after they have returned to campus; supplementing physical therapy for military veterans with new prosthetic legs; and helping NASA teams determine the next destination for the Mars Rover. Students will gain a broad understanding of what’s possible with VR, now and in the years to come. In addition to learning about the ways in which VR can be used across a variety of fields, students will also learn about the design and development process required to build a VR experience. During the 3-week course students will learn some basic production tools and will build a VR experience they can take home, playable on Google’s “Cardboard” VR platform. The course is taught by Brown’s Virtual Reality Artist-in-Residence, Adam Blumenthal. Mr. Blumenthal is an interactive media designer and producer, who has been conducting R&D with VR since 1990. Mr. Blumenthal’s research focus is in the use of VR to create compelling and effective educational experiences. Students in this course will have the opportunity to test and provide feedback on an educational production Mr. Blumenthal is building with 15 undergraduate students this semester.

Students will understand VR's potential to transform fields such as education, science, and creative expression, and know what is required to go from concept to completing a VR production.

Prerequisites: Students should have some proficiency with media production (e.g., art or video production or Photoshop, etc.), but do not need advanced technical knowledge or programming experience. Interest in fields such as media production, game design, animation, web design, and other creative technology fields are a good match.

Students are required to have an iPhone or Android smartphone for this course. Laptops are optional, but recommended.