Virtual Reality & 360° Video Services

This guide provides an introduction to the Virtual Reality and 360° Video services provided by the Centennial Science & Engineering Library, as well as other resources to help explore the technology.

How to Reserve VR

Virtual Reality equipment is available for booking at the Centennial Science & Engineering Library (CSEL). This service is available for free to current UNM students, staff, and faculty.

To reserve:

  1. Check availability for VR via the University Libraries' booking service.

  2. Select the time and date you'd like to reserve with the equipment.

    • The VR equipment is kept in the DEN 2.

    • You can reserve the room for up to 3 hours/day

    • You will receive a confirmation to your UNM email.

  3. Check in with a staff member at the CSEL service desk at the predetermined time. Equipment must be signed out from the service desk.

    • Make sure and bring your current LoboID.

  4. Staff will help you get started using the VR equipment. If you have questions or concerns please contact a staff person.

  5. Remember to return the VR equipment you checked out to the service desk when you finish your session.

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual Reality (VR) is a computer generated immersive environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real way by the user using special equipment like a headset or controllers.

How does VR work? The lenses of the headgear magnify the image, which fills your field of view with a stereoscopic view, and external sensors also track how your body moves. As you immerse yourself, you see nothing but your immediate virtual environment. Learn more by exploring resources on VR in the library, or better yet, try out the gear and experience it first-hand!

Learn more about VR from the video below:

VR Safety

  • Consult your doctor if you have a pre-existing medical condition (e.g. heart ailment) or psychiatric conditions (anxiety disorders or PTSD).

  • If you are sick, fatigued, under medication, not feeling well, generally tired, trying VR might worsen your condition.

  • Like other gaming products that produce light flashing visual effects, the VR headset may trigger epileptic seizures, fainting, or dizziness even if you have no history of these conditions.

Careful with cables. And don't sit on a virtual chair!

  • Keep in mind that there are cables running from the headset, move your feet slowly to avoid tripping.

  • Remember that simulated objects may appear in the virtual world, if you see a chair, don't sit on it!

Safety recommendations for when you use VR:

Contact Us

If you have any questions or would like to discuss using the service, feel free to contact us.


What can I do with VR?

Virtual Reality and 360° video can be used for various forms of simulations and entertainment. Here are just a few examples of practical / educational uses:

  • Archaeology:  Walk around 3D visualizations or reconstructions of archeological sites.

  • Architecture:  Build 1:1 models of rooms or buildings and interact with them.

  • Art:  Visit museums, view artwork from different angles or up close, or create original art.

  • Chemistry:  Build compounds and view their structure and interactions in 3D.

  • Engineering:  View designs in 3D and gain a better understanding of how they work.

  • Journalism:  Immerse in the stories being told.

  • Medicine:  Practice surgeries or other procedures, visualize anatomy up close and in 3D.

  • Psychiatry:  Run simulations to help reduce anxiety.

  • Travel:  Visit ocean depths, outer space, or just places you have wanted to travel but have not yet had the chance.

  • Other:  Data visualization.

Glossary of Terms

VR:  Virtual Reality (VR) is a way users experience computer-generated worlds as real. Through VR headsets that are connected to a computer, users immerse themselves in a simulation of a virtual environment and experience the virtual, "as-if-really-there" reality of the environment.  

AR:  Augmented Reality (AR) allows the user to see the real world in front of them, with an overlay of digital content. Google Glass and Pokemon Go provide some of the most famous examples of augmented reality.

MR:  Mixed Reality (MR) is similar to augmented reality, but incorporates both simulated and real world environments to create an experience where real and virtual objects can interact with each other in real time. At this point, mixed reality is still a concept that is being worked toward, and is still a long way from being implemented in practice.

XR:  Extended Reality (XR) can be defined as an umbrella, which brings all three Realities (VR, AR, and MR) together under one term. Extended Reality refers to all real-and-virtual combined environments and human-machine interactions generated by computer technology and wearables.

HMD:  Head Mounted Display.

Latency:  Latency in VR refers to the time it takes for the computer to render an image and for that image to appear on the HMD. This needs to be as low as possible so when you turn your head quickly the image displayed will be at the same speed. If it's too slow then the lags behind your movement and it can make you feel sick.

OLED:  Organic Light-Emitting Diod. This refers to the display technology used for the screens.

IPD:  Interpupillary distance (IPD) is the distance between the center of the pupils of the two eyes. IPD is critical for the design of binocular viewing systems, where both eye pupils need to be positioned within the exit pupils of the viewing system. If your IPD isn't set correctly it can create eye strain.

Frame Rate / FPS:  Frames Per Second. The frequency at which frames in a television picture, film, or video sequence are displayed. For VR, the optimal frame rate recommend by Oculus and HTC is 90fps. As a comparison, film and TV run at 24fps.