Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Computer Science


Type Open Level 3 Credits 10 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • COMP2221 Programming Paradigms AND COMP2271 Data Science


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • This course will introduce the principles of Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) technologies including optics, displays, rendering techniques, visual perception, tracking, interaction, current challenges, applications and major hardware and software platforms.


  • Introduction: history of VR/AR development, overview of computer graphics, the graphics pipeline, applications in education, communication, medical, entertainment, manufacturing, shopping.
  • VR/AR hardware: displays, physics of light, optics, electronics, microcontrollers, VR head-mounted displays, CAVEs, controllers, interfaces, major hardware platforms.
  • VR/AR software: stereo rendering for VR/AR, lens distortion shaders, auditory rendering, major software platforms.
  • Human perception: visual, auditory, vestibular, tactile.
  • Tracking: head-tracking, inertial measurement units, gyros, accelerometers, magnetometers, sensor fusion, complementary filter, etc.
  • Interaction and moving in VR: ergonomics, comfort, 3D interaction design, 3DUIs, perceptual requirements, affordances in VR, user input, physical navigation, redirected walking.
  • Presence: virtual embodiment.
  • Challenges in VR: simulator sickness, visual discomfort, realism, content, navigation, haptic feedback.
  • AR specific topics: object tracking, geolocation.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On completion of the module, students will be able to demonstrate:
  • An in-depth knowledge of theory and techniques driving the design of Virtual and Augmented Reality hardware and software.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • On completion of the module, students will be able to demonstrate:
  • That significant self-study has been undertaken and research reviewed in Virtual and Augmented Reality.
  • An ability to implement key algorithms within the topic areas.
  • An ability to propose and apply the appropriate techniques to a range of industrial and research applications.
Key Skills:
  • On completion of the module, students will be able to demonstrate:
  • An ability to independently evaluate research issues including current practices, recent developments and further areas of possible exploration.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures enable the students to learn new material relevant to Virtual and Augmented Reality techniques and algorithms.
  • Summative coursework assesses the understanding of core concepts in addition to applying methods and techniques.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
lectures 20 2 per week 1 hour 20
preparation and reading 80
total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative Assignment 100% No

Formative Assessment:

Example formative exercises are given during the course. Additional revision lectures may be arranged in the module's lecture slots in the 3rd term

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University