Review of Applications to Make VRs
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  Immersive Images and Virtual Reality

This website looks at the use of virtual reality immersive images in education. These are images usually viewed on computer screens and delivered via the Internet or on CDROM. The images give an initial impression of being an animation such as video (mostly without the download size and bandwidth requirement), but allow for full user control and interactivity. The user can control the movement and image display; and has the feeling of being inside the image. In some images the viewpoint can be moved left or right by 360 degrees, while in others the user has the impression of hanging about 1 metre above the ground and being able to look left, right, up or down by 360 degrees. It is also possible to add sound, hotspots, popups, animation and video within the image to provide fully interactive tours.

The immersive images are made either by stitching overlapping flat digital images together or by stitching overlapping fisheye images together using specialised software. The stitched images are viewed using compatible plugins or software.

This sample panorama is a view of the Warrumbungle National Park taken from the walkway of the Dome of the giant AAO observatory on Siding Springs mountain. This image takes users 'virtually' to a place where they would not be permitted to go in person.

It is stitched from a series of photographs taken in 15-degree increments. Normally turning the camera on a tripod does this, but in this case it was done by placing the camera on a tripod and turning the dome in 15 degree increments.

 

The mouse or arrow keys can be used to move the image, and ‘A’ and ‘Z’ keys to zoom in or out.

The web page uses javascript (this can be viewed by right clicking on the page and selecting 'view source') and calls on a tiny but powerful java applet called PTViewer to display the image. This applet is downloaded with the page and cached, so no plugins need to be installed to view the panorama.


 

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P Morrissey 2004 Made for EDGI931 Task 2