Project 3 - Shake It Up

Project Proposal Due 10/29/18 at 8:59pm Chicago time
Final Project and Web pages Due 12/3/18 at 8:59pm Chicago time

There is a default project for the undergraduate students, though undergraduate students can also propose a project. Graduate students must propose a project.

The project can be done in a group of 1-3 people.

Default Project

The default project is to create an AR or VR environment to look at earthquake hypocenter data around the planet. Normally we see maps of earthquake locations only showing their latitude and longitude, but adding in depth makes it much easier to see how they highlight the plate boundaries around the planet and look for other interesting things.

For example, looking at a series of earthquakes from the side with the surface of the earth at the top, makes it much easier to see the plate boundaries as in the image below.

The data on earthquakes is available from

You will also want some way to show the country boundaries and locations of cities for context. A good place to find that data is here: and

Unlike the previous 2 projects where you were loading in 3D models to view and interact with, here you will be loading in data and converting it to 3D visual representations (most likely lines, and points / spheres / cubes)

In the AR version of the project the user would have a variety of cards showing different areas of the planet or the entire planet. Placing any of these cards on a table would cause a 3D model of the data to appear above the card. The user can then rotate the card, or change their viewpoint to get different views of that data. The user can place multiple cards on the table at once. The user can also place cards that control which data is shown (different magnitudes, different depths) and those cards affect all of the visualizations currently being shown.

In the VR version the user can use a menu in the virtual world to bring up one or more areas of the planet, or the entire planet, and control the magnitudes and depths shown in each of the visualizations. The user can grab and move each of the visualizations, and make them larger of smaller.

In either case

To get a C on the project ...

To get a B you need to add ...

To get an A you need to add ...

Usability is a big part of this project. Your project needs to be believably usable by normal people as well as experts. Its not just about showing data, its about people being able to see it and interact with it effectively. This means exaggerating the depths appropriately, picking good colors and good sizes for the points, and showing enough information about the land above so the data can express itself.

The AR version should have an appropriate set of marker cards that are helpful for the user - these markers should look decent and make clear to the user what their function is. The VR version needs an appropriate and set of menus.

A good site for advice on colors is

if you are going to do the default project then please let Andy know your group members by 10/29 (the same date the project proposals are due for those who want to do their own project)

Project Proposal

The goal of project 3 is to let you work on a VR or AR project of your own choice, subject to Andy's approval.

This could be a creating VR project in CAVE2 or the VIVE, a new Unity app for the HoloLens, using Voforia or ARtoolkit to create an app for a smartphone or tablet, trying out apple's ARkit or google's OpenAR, etc. You could tie into fitbit or other body tracking software and have that drive VR or AR objects. You can create an AR app that runs outside next to ERF. You could take an existing card game like Munchkin and enhance it with AR. There is a lot of real-time data available today, so another possibility is to map that data into some kind of virtual or augmented world. You could create small game like fruit ninja in VR.

Proposal phase - You should create a web page that describes the project that you want to do, along with any reference material that would help convince me that this is a good project. This project can (for the most part) use whatever AR / VR hardware you want as long as it can be demonstrated (and graded) in or around the classroom. Applications that work outside are fine but should work while walking within a block of ERF. Applications where you are supplying specialized hardware are fine as long as you can leave that hardware at the lab for a week. The app has to be interactive - aside from moving around, the user also needs to be able to affect the state of the virtual world. The use of audio is highly encouraged.

This project description should include

- Descriptive Title
- General description of the project including why VR or AR will be beneficial here
- Which hardware platform or platforms you want to develop your application for
- What software you plan to use to write the application
- Who is on your team (1-3 people teams) and what their roles in the project are
- Links to any datasets or libraries or archives of images or objects that you plan to use

Once you have your proposal ready you should then email the location of that web page to andy. I will then make links to all those projects available on the class web pages so everyone can see what everyone else is doing. Once andy approves of your project you move onto the implementation phase. Ideally people will spread out over the various hardware platforms but if there are too many requests to use the same hardware then the groups that get their proposals in first will have priority.

How to go about it:

These days its pretty trivial to lead in a bunch of models and walk around them. Its helps if the models are really pretty, but just walking around in a virtual or augmented space gets boring pretty fast. The main focus needs to be on the user's interaction with the virtual world.

Draw storyboards - the first thing you must generate are storyboards. Draw pictures of the user standing in the CAVE or wearing an HMD or carrying their phone as an AR device. Make it like a comic book. Each panel has some action initiated by the user or the computer, and the next panel has the response. Draw a series of these storyboards for the common usage patterns. They should show the flow of the experience. The storyboards do not need to be pretty, or realistic looking. They are there to help you organize your thoughts on the experience. You want to mentally visualize the person interacting with your application - where will the user have problems?

Learn by doing - the flip side of drawing storyboards, which show what you want to do, is knowing what you CAN do in a given library / language. Write small programs. Try out simple versions of your ideas quickly to see if you are on the right track. A spiral development model works much better than a waterfall model in developing VR applications.

Focus on the user - see the application from the user's point of view, not the programmer's point of view. The user doesn't see the code. The user doesn't care how clever you did something. All the user sees is the end product.

Don't forget audio - ambient sounds and/or music are a good way to create mood and increase the sense of presence. Incidental sounds are a very good way of giving the user feedback (but its usually good to give visual feedback as well)

Play to your strengths - in the case of VR remember that you have a user who is head and hand tracked who holds one or more wands, but has no access to a keyboard. Create worlds where the user has natural interactions with his/her body. Also remember that the user has stereo visuals. Create worlds that surrounded the user; create worlds where the user interacts with virtual objects. in the case of AR make use of things in the real environment, especially tables, floors, walls and other flat surfaces.

Decide on the Physical laws - decide early whether there is gravity in your world, whether the user can fly, whether the user can walk through objects, what size the user is, how fast the user can move, etc.

Choose your preferred display platform - decide if you are writing a piece for a CAVE or a tablet or an HMD or whatever and focus on the strengths of that platform.

Test on the real display - desktop simulators are nice for testing your application but there is no substitute for regularly trying things out in a tracked full-scale 3D environment like. Interaction with a tracked hand is very difficult to simulate on the desktop. Movement speeds are hard to judge in the simulator - the speed may be very different when you are interacting on the real device.

Get lots of feedback - Once you have something working, ask others for feedback and LISTEN to them. Its very easy to come up with an interface which makes complete sense to you but makes no sense to anyone else. In most cases you are not writing the interface for yourself, so listen to your audience, especially if they 'just don't get it".

Make sure it works - your application must not crash. No matter what the user does, your application must not crash. Its better to have less functionality that you are sure will function correctly.

Get permissions - be sure to get permissions to use anything (images, models, sounds) that you don't create yourself. Don't steal.

Create reusable modules - if you are going to continue building VR worlds / interfaces then think about making things reusable - there are many things that you will be doing over and over again so its better to write them once and reuse them.

Focus on collaboration early - if the application is going to be collaborative or may be collaborative then focus on collaboration from the start. Its difficult to make an application once it has already been created.

Turning in the Project

You will need to be able to turn in your project so it can be run in the lab or near the lab.

Again you will be documenting your project through publicly viewable web pages

These pages should include:
note that the project report is really important here as it needs to tell us all the hard / interesting things you needed to do to get your project to work.

all of which should have plenty of screenshots with meaningful captions. Web pages like this can be very helpful later on in helping you build up a portfolio of your work when you start looking for a job so please put some effort into it.

You should also create a 2-3 minute YouTube video showing the use of your application including narration with decent audio quality. That video should be in a very obvious place on your main project web page. The easiest way to do this is to interact with the video in the classroom or the EVL main lab in front of the screen showing what you are seeing - this way people watching can see you interacting and what you are seeing. You can try to narrate while interacting but you will most likely find its useful to do some editing afterwards to tighten the video up.

The web page including screen snapshots and video need to be done by the deadline so be sure to leave enough time to get that work done. Once you have your webpage done, send the URL to Andy before the deadline. I will respond to this email as your 'receipt'. I will be linking your web page to the course notes so please send me a nice representative jpg or png image of your application for the web. This should be named p3.<your_last_name>.<your_first_name>.jpg or p3.<your_last_name>.<your_first_name>.png and be roughly 1024 x 768 in size.

Presenting the Project

An important part of creating VR and AR applications is getting feedback and using it to improve your design.

We will be spending time in class for each team to show off their work.
Given the number of groups, each group will have 5 minutes to present their project.



2 Janowski, Stranczek
Default P3 link
3 Jaiswal, Bhurani, Jhanwar
Adventure VR Game


 Tower Defense Game

Sandrelli, Tricarico 3D Pixel Art Editor

Alam, Condrella
Adler Planetarioun Exhibits

Bellini, Marziali, Santambrogio

9 Takkar, Manchundiya
Battle Royale AR


10 Nishimoto
J.A. Incarceration: A  VR Storytelling Experience

11 Rastogi, Kulkarni
Array of Things VR

Arellano, Norman, Akintoye
AR Zodiac Cards


13 Phaltankar, Datta, Samy
Physics in AR

Almoujahed, Dolat
An Escape
15 Haynie
Default P3 link
16 Molina Default P3

Magnetic Fields

Lubek, Kuhn
VR Foosball

Krishnamoorthy, Neelakantan
Pokemon Battle of Honor

Lee, Taj
Default P3 link
21 Kidwai, Jamal, Vega
Cyborg FPS

Huynh, Hruby
Default P3 link

last updated 12/6/18