CS 528: Virtual Reality - Spring 2015

Andy Johnson

Electronic Visualization Laboratory
2032 Engineering Research Facility (ERF)

(312) 996-3002 (phone)
aej at evl.uic.edu
(312) 413-7585 (fax)

office hours: 1:00 - 2:00 and 4:45 - 6:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and by appointment

36788 Lecture - Tuesday / Thursday from 2:00pm to 3:15pm in 2036 ERF

We will not have a formal textbook for the course - There will be regular weekly paper readings and discussion.

Some older good books include Understanding Virtual Reality: Interface, Application, and Design by Sherman and Craig from 2002 and Virtual Reality Technology by Burdea and Coiffet from 2003


the topics may shift around depending on the final number of students in the class

Day  Topic  Events
 1/13  1/15
 1. Introduction to VR and Demos
 1/20  1/22
 2. OmegaLib and Other Tools
 Project 1 out, Last week to drop
 1/27  1/29
 3. Vision and Visuals

 2/03  2/05
 4. Tracking
 2/10  2/12
 5. Interaction and Navigation
 2/17  2/19
 Project 1 Review  Project 1 due, Project 2 out
 2/24  2/26
 6. Applications
 3/03  3/05
 7. Collaboration and Immersion
 3/10  3/12
 8. Current Work (Large and Small)
 Paper topic  & Project 3 topic due
 3/17  3/19
 Project 2 Review  Project 2 due 

 Spring Break

3/31  4/02
 Paper Presentations
4/07  4/09
 Paper Presentations
4/14  4/16
 Project 3 Work Days
4/21  4/23
 Project 3 Review  Project 3 due on 4/22
4/28  4/30
 Project 3 Review

"We have so much time and so little to do! No! Wait! Strike that! Reverse it! " -- Willy Wonka


You should feel comfortable programming in a modern language such as  C / C++ / Java / Python, and have access to a reasonably modern laptop computer with a reasonably modern graphics card and a battery that will make it through class. Having experience programming OpenGL (at the CS 488 level) will be helpful but not required.

Standard departmental disclaimer: If you do not have the prerequisites for this course make sure that you drop this course right away. The department will verify the prerequisites for all students registered in this course during the first few weeks of the term and if you do not have the prerequisites, you will be notified and dropped from the course after the normal drop/add period. By that time, you will not be able to enroll in any new course.


Principles of virtual reality and virtual environments, hardware, software and design issues in presenting images and sound in immersive environments, input and control devices, quantitative assessment of virtual reality systems.


Attendance is very important, but not mandatory. Part of your grade will be based on your in-class participation (i.e. asking good questions, making good comments) so please take that into account. You will be expected to read one research paper before most class sessions, write a short report on that paper, and be prepared to talk about it during the next class.

I make a habit of putting all of my notes on the web, however these notes should not be considered 'official' until the day of class. If I make any major changes to a page afterwards, then I will announce it in class but note that at the bottom of each page is a modification date so you should be able to tell when the notes were last modified. I try to ensure that the notes on the web accurately reflect the lecture, but its what is discussed in class 'that counts', not what's written in the notes.

"Those who are absent are always wrong." - African proverb


More on the presentations

More on the projects

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand" - Chinese proverb


 The final grade will be calculated as follows Percent 
Letter grades  
 Projects (3 at 20% each) 60% 
A: 87% -  100% 
 Paper Presentation
B: 75% -   86% 
 In class participation 20% 
C: 62% -   74% 
 TOTAL 100% 
D: 50% -    61% 

Note: that you must get a passing (D or better) grade on _all_ projects and final to get a passing grade in the course.

Also note: I only give Incomplete grades for serious hospitalization issues which come up suddenly near the end of the term.

Also also note: I have no qualms about giving Ds or Fs in a graduate level course, though the vast majority of the grades have tended to be As and Bs. I also have no qualms about failing graduate students for cheating - so be good.

last modified 2/10/15 - updated paper and project 3 presentation days