1. O
    1. Oculus Best Practices Guide
      Reading Content
  2. U
    1. Unity
  3. V
    1. Virtual Reality, LaValle 2016
      Reading Content

Virtual Reality, IIT Madras

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Dear students,
Virtual reality (VR) technology transports us to real or synthetic places that may be inaccessible, breathtaking, complex beyond our wildest imagination, or just simple and relaxing. Applications include entertainment, social interaction, virtual travel, remote training, architectural walkthroughs, cultural appreciation, and learning enhancement. Although VR has been around for decades, it always came with a high cost to enter the field because of advanced, expensive equipment and computing resources. Thanks to widespread progress in display, sensing, and computational technology, the newest VR systems are cheap, lightweight, and easy to program. This has caused a flood of excitement as almost anyone can pick up a VR headset and start developing experiences.
The purpose of this course is to provide you with a deep understanding of the fundamentals of VR. Because VR tricks our brains by presenting synthetic stimuli to our senses, it is extremely challenging to develop and analyse VR systems that are both effective and comfortable. To get a handle on these issues, this course will fuse together knowledge from a variety of relevant topics, including basics in human physiology, neuroscience, and perceptual psychology, and illustrate how they impact the development of VR hardware, software, and content.
This course traces its origins back a decade, to the early days of Oculus in 2012. Two of the instructors (Dr. Steven LaValle and Dr. Anna LaValle) were early Oculus founders. The course was first offered at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, in 2014 and it has since evolved through major milestones, including the first NPTEL course at the IIT Madras in 2016 followed by extensive teaching at UIUC, USA, IIT Madras and the University of Oulu, Finland.​
The course operates on an open-source platform, and voluntary efforts of all of the instructors are in line with the Finnish style of developing free educational materials and open-source tools to benefit everyone. Additionally, there is a free online book authored by Dr. Steven LaValle, as part of the accompanying materials.​ As a consequence, this high-quality course is offered at a very low price compared to others, making it exceptionally accessible.
This course aligns with our objective of establishing India as the leading XR hub globally. Referencing our whitepaper on the XR Gap in India (available at xtic.iitm.ac.in), this program aims to elevate faculty/professionals/individuals with basic UNITY3D/Unreal Engine skills into XR experts. Graduates will be equipped to actively engage in XR research and development initiatives.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of the course, you will be able to:

Course Topics


We expect students to come with a variety of backgrounds and we do not demand they have had particular background courses. It is important for you to assess whether you can handle the material. You can start by looking through the course info and the textbooks. Ask us if you are unsure.


The course is developed by distinguished VR experts from IIT Madras and the University of Oulu, integrating the latest advances in VR research and industry practices.
Informative Guides to Help You Design, Develop, and Distribute Your VR App.
The platform for interactive, real-time, 3D content creation.
Virtual Reality, LaValle 2016 is the free online textbook we use in this course.