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Virtual Reality: Home

This guide give you information on Virtual Reality services provided by the Radcliffe Science Library, along with links to helpful Virtual Reality viewing and capturing resources and tips.

VR Service Updates

Important Update: Due to the RSL refurbishment project, the VR Lending has stopped taking requests. We'll update with more information after the RSL has reopened.

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual Reality is a fully computer generated environment that gives you an immersive experience of being there. Watch the video for more details on how this works:

This video on youtube from Mashable describes 'what is Virtual Reality and how does it work?'

What is 360 Photo & Video?

A 360 photo or video is an image that covers 360 degrees of view. This can be achieved by putting two >180 degrees fish eye cameras back to back, this is how the 'Gear 360' camera works that the RSL currently has. The images are taken separately by the camera and the stitched together afterwards to be viewed. Most 360 cameras like the 'Gear 360' take a 'monoscopic' image which is flat. However high end 360 camera can take 'stereoscopic' images, also known as 3D.

An example of a 360 photo taken by RSL staff(Click and drag to move around).

First 360 photo taken by RSL Staff using the Gear 360

Glossary of Terms

VR - Virtual Reality
AR - Augmented Reality

HMD - Head Mounted Display

Latency - Latency in VR refers to the time it takes for the computer to render an image and for that image to appear on the HMD. This needs to be as low as possible so when you turn your head quickly the image displayed will be at the same speed. If it's too slow then the image lags behind your movement and it can make you feel sick.

OLED - Organic Light-Emitting Diode. This refers to the display technology used for the screens.

IPD - Interpupillary distance (IPD) is the distance between the center of the pupils of the two eyes. IPD is critical for the design of binocular viewing systems, where both eyepupils need to be positioned within the exit pupils of the viewing system. If your IPD isn't set correctly it can create eye strain.

Frame Rate/FPS - Frames Per Second. The frequency at which frames in a television picture, film, or video sequence are displayed. For VR, the optimal frame rate recommend by Oculus and HTC is 90fps. As a comparison, film and TV run at 24fps.

FOV - Field of View. How much of the virtual world you can see around you through the headset.

You can find more useful terms here:

What can I do with it?

What are some examples of practical uses for Virtual Reality?

Virtual Reality can be used for immersing yourself in a computer generated environment, this can be used for various forms of simulations and entertainment. Here are a few examples of practical uses in an educational environment:

  • Psychiatry: Run simulations to help reduce anxiety.
  • Engineering: VR can be used as part of the design process to enable engineers to view their designs in 3D and gain a greater understanding of how it works.
  • Medicine: Virtual simulations for medical training and education in a safe environment. Can also be used to visualize scans up close and in 3D.
  • Archeology:  Walk around 3D visualizations of archeological sites.
  • Field Trips: Visit Mars!
  • Other: Data visualization.

Books on Virtual Reality

Oxford X-Reality Hub

Oxford X-Reality Hub is a student project winner of the IT Innovation Challenge award 2017. The aim is to bring together people, knowledge and resources related to VR and AR technologies. They run many event throughout the year for University members. Learn more here:

Subject Librarian Physical and Applied Sciences

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Rachel Scanlon
Radcliffe Science Library
01865 272824
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