Home » REU2017 » Andrew Tompkins: Capturing our world through interactive virtual reality field trip

Andrew Tompkins: Capturing our world through interactive virtual reality field trip


Project: Capturing our world through interactive virtual reality field trips

Abstract: A wide range of emerging technologies are available to create virtual reality experiences that can take us on journeys to explore regions of the world that we might never otherwise be able to visit – ranging from polar ice caps to tropical forests. In particular, 360o imagery is becoming increasingly easy to capture, edit, and annotate to engage people in deeper, interactive virtual field experiences. This project will evaluate different techniques and methods for creating interactive virtual reality field trips, including experiences that integrate imagery and other content within the setting of the virtual world with an emphasis on educational field experiences.

Mentor: Stephen Moysey

About: I am a rising senior currently studies Digital Arts at Stetson University. I am also pursuing a minor in Computer Science and Business System Analytic. I enjoy creating interactive experiences and want to use this summer to learn more about the techniques used in the creation of VR experiences.

Weekly Reports

Week 1: The first week, I wanted to setup my work environment and begin familiarizing myself with Unity. I created a basic scene that allowed me to pick up objects and teleport. Next I explored custom interactions which allowed me to snap objects to certain orientations and spawn items that are automatically grabbed.

Teleportation – Snap Grab









Teleporter uses a raycast laser to find a location and project the reticle at that location. Once the location is selected it is a simple transform to the location of the laser to teleport there.

The Snap Grab required a me to create a class that allowed me to overwrite the builtin Vive Controller functionality. Once the overwrite class was made I simple made special interactions that are dependent on the object being interacted with. To create the arrow snap effect we transformed the arrows location to that of the controller  with a offset to compensate for its size/desired orientation and parented it to the controller.

Week 2: I met with my advisor to get a better idea of what is expected of me. Finished the project charter which outlined what I would be doing during. Started Literature review and collected all of the sources that will be used. formatted this web page and added the images. The project has shifted from creating a project to researching ways to make future projects and how the mechanics used in virtual reality can be used in geologic education.

Week 3: Continued to gather sources for my research paper and created the research introduction. Broke up the aspects that I will be researching which are movement, interactivity, and imagery. I have started on the movement category and have been collecting examples of mechanics being used.

Week 4: Finished gathering all of the reports needed to start the analysis for the movement section of the paper. Started working on the Midterm presentation and worked on the methodology section of the research paper.

Week 5: Finished gathering information for the imagery section of the paper and started to write out the bulk of the paper. The interactivity section of the paper was lacking in information, which will be my focus next week while working on the geoscience part.


Week 6: Finished all the research necessary and started to write it all out in the research paper. Started the research poster which acts as a summary of what is contained inside of the research paper. Created a demo using 360 imagery in unity. Started working on a photogrammetry demonstration went to the location and captured the room. Next week will have the first draft of the poster and paper done. I will also try compiling the images into a 3D mesh using Photoscan.

Week 7: Continued to work on the research paper, and started the final demo. The final demo is a platform inside of the Grand Canyon that allows users to pick up rock samples and see which layer the rock sample belongs to.

Week 8: Last week of the REU, finished the Grand Canyon demo and created a video demonstration for it. Updated the midterm presentation to include all of the work that has been since then.

Final Report

Hunter College
City University of New York
695 Park Ave
New York, NY 10065

Telephone: +1 (212) 396-6837
Email: oo700 at hunter dot cuny dot edu

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