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CSE 190: Virtual Reality Technology

Course Description

Virtual reality (VR) has been capturing people's imagination for decades, but it has been only recently that this technology became available for consumers. This course aims to explain how VR technology works, and the students are going to do programming projects to better understand potential and limitations of today's VR hardware and devices.

Course Schedule

Click here for the course schedule.

It lists lecture dates, homework due dates, and recommended reading.


In this course the following topics are going to be covered, plus possibly a few more:

  1. An overview of the state-of-the-art VR technologies and research trends will be given.
  2. The fundamental physics of 3D displays will be covered, including the major 3D depth cues.
  3. The most common display types such as LCDs and OLEDs will be introduced, in terms of display materials, device structures, working principles and research trends.
  4. We will look at various ways to create stereographic 3D images.
  5. Several quasi-true 3D displays, including holography, volumetric 3D displays and light field displays will be introduced.
  6. Immersive VR systems will be discussed, including HMD-based systems. This part of the course will include a discussion of smart phone based HMDs as well as high end computer-driven HMDs.
  7. Challenges with today's HMD-based VR will be discussed and software driver components will be explained and implemented in C++ with OpenGL.


  • CSE167 (Introduction to Computer Graphics) or equivalent


  • Instructor: Dr. Jürgen Schulze
  • Instructor's office hour: Thursdays 3:30-4:30pm, Atkinson Hall, Room 2125
  • Number of Units: 4
  • Section ID: 972478
  • Lectures: Tuesday and Thursday, 2:00pm-3:20pm at EBU 3b, room B210 (a.k.a. VR lab).
  • Homework Discussion: Mondays 3:00-3:50pm in EBU 3b, room B210
  • Homework: 4 programming assignments
  • 1 in-class written exam
  • 1 VR app/video presentation in-class
  • Piazza page
  • Designated computer lab: CSE B210 (VR Lab)
  • TA: Karen Lucknavalai, tutors: Ziyang Li, Weichen Liu; see Piazza for office hours


Project 1 15%
Project 2 15%
Project 3 15%
Final Project 25%
Midterm Exam 25%
VR Content Presentation 5%

You will find your homework and other scores on TritonEd. Please verify a few days after after every due date that your score has been recorded correctly and inform your grader or instructor if you find an error.

The final grade depends on a weighted average of all the scores. The following grading key will be used:

Final Score Letter Grade
100+ A+
95+ A
90+ A-
85+ B+
80+ B
75+ B-
70+ C+
65+ C
60+ C-

For undergraduate students with the P/NP option: A pass (P) grade will be given for an average score of 60 or higher.

For graduate students with the S/U option: A satisfactory (S) grade will be given for an average score of 75 or higher.

Homework Assignments

Projects 1 and 4 should be done in teams of two. Projects 2 and 3 are solo projects.

All projects must be demonstrated to the course staff on or before the due date. There will be a dedicated grading session on due dates at 2pm in CSE B210.

If you can't get a project done in time before the due date you can submit it on the following Friday but at a penalty of 25% of your score.

Optional Textbooks

You won't need to buy a textbook for this course because the lecture slides will be made available to you. However, if you want more background information, we recommend the following books:

Vrbook-200p.jpg The VR Book by Jason Jerald, 550 pages, Morgan & Claypool Publishers, October 16, 2015, ISBN-10: 1970001127, ISBN-13: 978-1970001129
Mastering-200p.jpg Mastering Oculus Rift Development by Jack Donovan, 306 pages, Packt Publishing, February 6, 2017, ISBN-13: 978-1786461155, ISBN-10: 1786461153
Vr-200p.jpg Virtual Reality by Steven M. LaValle. To be published by Cambridge University Press. Download PDF

Students with Disabilities

If you have a documented disability, please bring your documentation to me as soon as possible so that I can make suitable accommodations for you. If you believe that you have a disability and desire accommodation, please register with the Office for Students with Disabilities.