Of all forms of media, VR probably comes the closest to real world experience. Just like the physical world, it surrounds you in a completely immersive environment. You can use this to create experiences that would be impossible in any other medium. We’ve been sitting in front of flat screens facing forward for too long. It is more exciting and desirable than ever to leverage the space above, below, and behind the user. Excerpt from the Oculus Best Practices Guide
The Learning Environments Virtual Reality Lab was established in 2014 to facilitate the development and application of virtual reality technology in teaching and learning, research and engagement. It has been setup for VR demonstrations as well as the ability the run mixed reality sessions. Consultation and assistance with VR related projects is also available.
- Music Therapy in Virtual Environments: developing a virtual reality platform for telehealth group singing interventions for people with quadriplegia (NSI seed funded)
- Virtual Reality Therapy and Youth Mental Health: using VR to improve young people’s mental health and wellbeing (NSI seed funded)
- Applying immersive technologies to improve learning and the development of key skills in ecology (LTI funded)
- Virtual Reality And Music Therapy Are Helping Quadriplegics To Breathe Easy (Huffington Post) – November 2016
- Spinal patients sing to breathe easy in virtual world (Pursuit) – November 2016
- Oculus Connect 4 Conference Review – October 2017
- The New Hyper-Reality of Work – October 2017
- Immersive Learning with Virtual Reality – Masterclass – July 2017
- Melbourne VR Health Hackathon – June 2017
- Virtual Reality in the Biology Classroom – April 2017
- VR design workshop review: Girl Power in STEMM pilot program – July 2016
- Accessibility of Virtual Reality Environments – May 2016
- Oculus Connect 2 Conference review – Oct 2015
- Using AltspaceVR for collaboration in virtual reality – Aug 2015
- Oculus Rift demo at RezBaz conference – March 2015
- Learning Environments virtual reality research and development lab – Dec 2014
- Creating content for virtual reality experiences – Oct 2014
- Virtual reality and immersion in education – June 2014
Keep updated about VR related events at the University
- Virtual Reality Mailing List (News and information)
- Immersive Learning with Virtual Reality Masterclass (Unimelb Only)
- Immersive Technologies (VR/AR) (Yammer Group – Unimelb Only)
Other VR/AR related activities at the University
- Networked Society Institute
- Virtual Reality Learning Studio (Department of Physiology)
- Microsoft Research Centre for Social Natural User Interfaces
- Masters Projects (Interaction Design Lab) – Opportunities for students
Other ways to get involved in the VR/AR community
VR meetups are a great way to meet other VR developers and enthusiasts and occur regularly throughout the year around Melbourne.
- Virtual Reality Content Creators Australia
- Melbourne VR Meetup
- Real World VR Meetup
- Melbourne Augmented Reality Meetup
- Virtual Human Interaction Lab: Charlie Rose (Video interview with Jeremy Bailenson)
- Enhancing Our Lives with Immersive Virtual Reality
Getting Started with VR
This comprehensive guide to getting started with virtual reality is a great resource for headsets and information. For University uses such as teaching and learning or Open Day activities we currently recommend the Oculus Rift but there are other good choices depending on your needs and new hardware is always being released. Check out this article on purchasing a VR Ready system or contact us for assistance.
For high uses cases such as public demonstrations or classes we recommend purchasing VR covers. You will also need to buy a few sets of wipes to use between uses. Non-alcoholic antibacterial wipes are also recommended to wipe down the covers between users, alcoholic wipes may be uncomfortable for some people’s faces.
You can either build your own PC based on the recommended VR specifications or choose from a number of pre-built ‘VR-ready’ systems. The official University computer supplier is currently unable to supply VR-ready computers so these systems need to be provided by third-party resellers. Contact us for the latest recommendations.
When developing for virtual reality, it’s important to prevent users from experiencing simulator sickness. This occurs when a user in the real world experiences acceleration beyond a personal comfortable level in the virtual world. Different users have varying levels of tolerance but keep this in mind when creating or demonstrating VR.
Public demonstrations of virtual reality experiences need to be accessible for all users since a poorly designed or setup experience can put people of using VR again. We are happy to assist with consultation on VR demonstration best practices. Contact us.