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Build Your Own VR Display: An Introduction to VR Display Systems for Hobbyists and Educators

3D World

FMX Conference


Build Your Own VR Display: An Introduction to VR Display Systems for Hobbyists and Educators

Wednesday, 2 August, 2:00 pm - 5:15 pm, Los Angeles Convention Center, Room 403AB

Wearable computing is widely anticipated to be the next computing platform for consumer electronics and beyond. In many wearable computing applications, most notably virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), the primary interface between a wearable computer and a user is a near-eye display, which is only a small part of a much more complex system that delivers these emerging VR/AR experiences. Other key components of VR/AR systems include low-latency tracking of the user’s head position and orientation, magnifying optics, sound synthesis, and content creation. In can be challenging to understand all of these technologies in detail, as only limited and fragmented educational material on the technical aspects of VR/AR exist today.

This comprehensive introduction to VR/AR technology teaches how to build a head-mounted display (HMD) from scratch. Throughout the course, different components of the VR system are explained and implemented, including the graphics pipeline, stereo rendering, lens distortion with fragment shaders, head-orientation tracking with inertial measurement units, positional tracking, spatial sound, and cinematic VR content creation. All hardware components are low-cost and off-the-shelf. For maximum accessibility, all software is implemented in WebGL and provided on the Arduino platform. Source code is provided.




Programming skills, basic computer graphics.

Intended Audience

Enthusiasts and educators interested in the technical aspects of virtual reality.


Gordon Wetzstein
Stanford University

Robert Konrad
Stanford University

Nitish Padmanaban
Stanford University

Hayato Ikoma
Stanford University