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Introduction to Virtual Reality & 360 Tours

  • Pre-workshop activities: 7 min
  • Introductory presentation: 10 min
  • Hands-on activities: 80 min

Why Create VR & 360-Tours?

Let’s start with some definitions so that we are all on the same page:

  • Virtual Reality or VR is a computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using equipment like VR Goggles that covers their complete field of view. More information about VR.{:target=”_blank”}.
  • 360 Tours & 360 Video can be viewed in VR headsets, but are more commonly viewed on smartphones and web browsers. 360-Tours are a series of 360-degree still photograpi that the viewer navigates through at their own pace, and can have embeded photos, videos and text in them.
  • Augmented Reality or AR is a technology that lets people superimpose digital content (images, sounds, text) over a real-world environment. This is most commonly done using smart phone applications (like Pokemon Go) or less commonly using specialized AR headset glasses (like Microsoft Hololens). More information about AR.{:target=”_blank”}.

Benefits of VR, AR, & 360 Tours

VR, 360-Tours, and 360-Videos viewed using headsets that take up the viewers full field of view can make for a much more impactiful experience for people than a similar experience using a smart phone or computer. One example of this is a UN authored study of emersive 360-videos.{:target=”_blank”} of the life of a resident in Syrian refugee camp which when shown to westerners, lead to much higher empathy than people who watched regular videos on their computers or phones.

Another benefit is heightened spatial understanding and immersion that Virtual Reality and 360-Tours provide, even for viewers using smartphones and web browsers. AR is a great tool for prividing point of need text, video, and/or photographic information to people using smartphone AR apps.

Learning objectives

At the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

  1. Explain the difference between Augmented Reality (AR), and Virtual Reality (VR), 360 Video, and 360 Tours
  2. Create a Tour using Google Earth Narrative Map
  3. Create a 360 Tour using Marzipano or Lapentor
  4. Create an Augmented Reality experience for mobile phones

NEXT STEP: Pre-Workshop Activities