In recent years, IT and immersive technologies are one of the most popular fields that people choose for their future careers. According to Statista, as of January 2023, the number of IT workers was 3.1 million, and by 2032 the number of workers will exceed 6 million. Among those starting to work in the field of IT and XR, there are both young professionals and those who have career experience in other fields and want to change their lives. And free online courses, which introduce a beginner to the essence of the matter in an interesting and accessible language, are useful for future developers.
In this article, we offer an interesting selection of the best free XR training courses online. Whether you’re looking to develop XR experiences for Unity and Magic Leap 2, shoot a 360o film, or create your own metaverse, our selection of courses will provide you with the necessary skills and knowledge needed for those just starting their XR journey.
Create with AR: Face Filters by Unity
A training course for those new to AR application development, including creating face filters. This course is designed for those willing not only to learn the basics of programming applications on Unity but also to expand their portfolio with new cases, which will make it much easier to enter the field of XR.
The course is divided into three parts:
- Get Started With AR. The future developer will learn the types of features in augmented reality, such as AR face filters, and AR markers that allow you to place digital content in real space. One will learn how to integrate a finished 3D model design into a game.
- Create a basic face filter. The main goal of this segment is to create your own customized AR face mask, including creating face trackers and using various textures, 3D models, and other components that can be used for an AR mask;
- Create an interactive face filter. In the final part of the course, the student has to make their mask interactive. In particular, developers also learn to add a user interface to the created mask and use visual scripts to program functions.
A student is able to independently monitor their own progress and mark the completed lessons on the page.
The entire course is available here: https://learn.unity.com/course/create-with-ar-face-filters?uv=2021.3
Virtual Reality Development Specialization by the University of London
A virtual reality training program by the University of London is designed for beginners and consists of 5 courses. Its total duration is 6 months, 4 hours per week, with a flexible schedule.
Each of the 5 training courses contains the following information:
- Introduction to virtual reality. Students get acquainted with the concept of virtual reality, its history, and basic principles;
- 3D Models for Virtual Reality. In this course, students will take the first steps in developing 3D models for VR, the basic principles of digital content development, and overlaying models in a digital environment. Students will also learn the basic principles of one of the most common VR engines, Unity3D;
- Interactive design with 3D models in VR. Students will learn to work with a key aspect of virtual reality, i.e., creating user interaction with the digital world. The course will cover the basic principles of creating interaction with virtual reality, taking into account the natural movements of the human body. In the end, students will receive useful advice from experts in the field of XR, and the main task to consolidate the result will be the creation of their own project where a person interacts with virtual reality;
- Creation of interactive 3D characters and dialogues. Students will learn to create communication between users of virtual reality, in particular the psychology of communication in VR, the basic principles of animation of 3D characters, in particular, game characters that will be used by the player and NPCs that will interact with a real player;
- Creating the First VR Game is the final course of the curriculum from the University of London, in which students have to create their first game in virtual reality and learn all the main stages of its development: idea, storyboarding, prototyping, testing, and implementation.
The hosts of the Virtual Reality Development Specialization program are Professor Marco Gillies and Dr. Sylvia Xueni Pan. Gillies is an Academic Director of Distance Learning and Deputy Head of Computing at the University of London. Pan is a senior lecturer at the Virtual Reality department of the same university.
You can sign up for the course here: https://www.coursera.org/specializations/virtual-reality
Extended Reality for Everybody by Michigan University
A learning program from the University of Michigan that introduces students to the general concept of extended reality. Its total duration is 3 months, 7 hours a week. The main goal of the program is to teach students the basic concepts of XR, the key problems of the development of augmented reality, and to correct them in further work with programs, as well as to learn how to create their own programs.
The program consists of three main courses:
- Introduction to VR/AR/MR/XR, Technologies, Applications, and Key Issues. An introductory course to the concept of augmented reality where students will learn to understand the essential difference between virtual, augmented, mixed, and extended reality. Students will also learn more about the current state of XR, its main advantages, level of development, and problems;
- User experience and VR/AR/MR interaction design. In this course, students will learn the basic principles of creating XR experiences, including creating extended reality prototypes and putting them into operation. In addition, the issue of ethics in creating an interactive XR application for the user will be raised here;
- XR applications development with WebXR, Unity, and Unreal Engine. Students will gain practical skills in creating VR experiences in WebXR or Unity, AR applications with or without markers. The final course is where students will learn the basic concepts and techniques of creating complex applications in augmented reality, as well as learn to create their own apps taking into account the ethics, privacy, and basic principles of user accessibility.
The lead instructor for this course is Michael Nebeling, Associate Professor of Information in the School of Information and Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Michigan College of Engineering.
You can sign up for the course here: https://www.coursera.org/specializations/extended-reality-for-everybody
What is Metaverse? by Meta
A course by Meta will teach future developers how to interact with the metaverse and how to create their own metaverses, taking into account all the rules of security, ethics, accessibility, and inclusivity. The total duration of the course is 3 weeks, 3 hours per week.
This course contains 6 modules covering topics such as
- What is the metaverse. An introductory module that describes the basic concepts of this technology, the basic principles of interaction in the metaverse, and how to interact with other users in it;
- Who creates the metaverse. Students will learn about the basic principles of creating a metaverse, what devices, platforms, and game engines are used to create their own digital universe, and how augmented reality is used here;
- Verticals of the metaverse. Students will learn about the influence of the metaverse on various spheres of life, including education, medicine, city planning, and interaction with people. Students will also learn more about how marketing, design, and entertainment work in the realities of the metaverse;
- Finance in the metaverse. This module tells how blockchain and cryptocurrency work in the realities of the metaverse, how to introduce your own economy into your metaverse, and the latest financial trends;
- Responsibilities in the metaverse. Students will learn about the basic principles of building a metaverse, taking into account all the rules of ethics, inclusiveness, and diversity;
- How to build a metaverse. The final module, in which students learn more about the possibilities of the metaverse, as well as the further development of this technology and the influence of companies on this technology.
You can sign up for the course here: https://www.coursera.org/learn/what-is-the-metaverse
VR and 360 Video Production by Google AR & VR
Another free course for beginners from Google introduces students to virtual reality, 360o video, and the basic principles of creating such videos. The duration of the course is three weeks and four hours a week.
The main course consists of 4 modules, which include the following educational material:
- What is 360o video and how does it relate to VR. An introductory module that covers the basic principles of creating 360o video;
- Setting up VR pre-production. Students learn the basic technical nuances of preparing for video shooting. During the module, students will be provided with the necessary tools for writing a script, planning, selecting a crew and cast for a 360o film;
- The shooting process of 360o video. Students will learn the main nuances of the operation of the 360o camera, as well as the arrangement of the shooting process itself;
- VR post-production and release. The final module, in which students will learn how to edit the footage, as well as publish the finished film.
You can sign up for the course here: https://www.coursera.org/learn/360-vr-video-production
Unity Development for Magic Leap 2
Another course from Unity Learn, created for beginners who have an initial level of command of the C# programming language and a basic knowledge and understanding of the rules for using the Unity platform. The purpose of this course is for students to learn how to design XR experiences for Magic Leap 2 augmented reality glasses.
The course consists of 14 separate video tutorials that introduce students to every aspect of Magic Leap 2 digital experiences development, starting with an introductory lecture that observes the general characteristics of the glasses. The following videos describe in more detail the intricacies of developing XR experiences, such as entering voice commands, tracking hand and eye movements, creating and superimposing markers on real space, etc.
A student completes the full course independently at any time convenient for them, just like other courses on the Unity Learn website.
The entire course can be found here: https://learn.unity.com/course/magic-leap-2-development?uv=2022.2
We hope these free courses will inspire you and give you confidence in your future career as an XR developer. They will not only develop your practical skills and enrich you with theoretical knowledge. Training programs from Unity, Google, Meta, and many other augmented reality experts will also develop your creativity and flexibility, which XR developers need so much.
In the realm of art, visual experiences have long been the primary medium of expression, creating a challenge for those with visual impairments. However, a groundbreaking fusion of haptic technology and VR/AR is reshaping the narrative. Explore the innovative synergy between haptic technology and VR/AR and how this collaboration is not only allowing the blind to “see” art but also feel it in ways previously unimaginable. Artful Touch – Haptic Technology’s Role in Art Appreciation Haptic technology introduces a tactile dimension to art appreciation by translating visual elements into touch sensations. Equipped with sensors and precision, haptic gloves enable users to feel textures, contours, and shapes of artworks. This groundbreaking technology facilitates a profound understanding of art through touch, providing a bridge to the visual arts that was once thought impossible for the blind to cross. VR/AR technologies extend this tactile experience into virtual realms, guiding users through art galleries with spatial precision. Virtual environments created by VR/AR technologies enable users to explore and “touch” artworks as if they were physically present. The combination of haptic feedback and immersive VR/AR experiences not only provides a new means of navigating art spaces but also fosters a sense of independence, making art accessible to all. Prague Gallery Unveils a Touchful Virtual Reality Experience The Prague’s National Gallery has taken a revolutionary step towards inclusivity in art with its groundbreaking exhibition, “Touching Masterpieces.” Developed with support of Leontinka Foundation, a charity dedicated to children with visual impairments, this exhibit redefines the boundaries of art appreciation. Visitors to the exhibition, especially those who are blind or visually impaired, are invited to embark on a sensory journey through iconic sculptural masterpieces. Among them are the enigmatic bust of Nefertiti, the timeless Venus de Milo sculpture, and the immortal David by Michelangelo. What sets this exhibition apart is the integration of cutting-edge technology – haptic gloves. These gloves, dubbed “avatar VR gloves,” have been meticulously customized for the project. Using multi-frequency technology, they create a virtual experience where a user’s hand can touch a 3D object in a virtual world, providing tactile feedback in the form of vibrations. The key innovation lies in the gloves’ ability to stimulate different types of skin cells’ tactile responses, ensuring that users, particularly the blind, receive the most accurate perception of the 3D virtual objects on display. As visitors explore the exhibit, they can virtually “touch” and feel the intricate details of these masterpieces, transcending the limitations of traditional art appreciation. Future Possibilities and Evolving Technologies As technology advances, the future holds even more possibilities for inclusive art experiences. The ongoing collaboration between haptic technology and VR/AR promises further refinements and enhancements. Future iterations may introduce features such as simulating colors through haptic feedback or incorporating multisensory elements, providing an even more immersive and enriching experience for blind art enthusiasts. The collaboration between haptic technology and VR/AR is ushering in a new era of art perception, where touch and virtual exploration converge to create a truly inclusive artistic experience. By enabling the blind to “see” and feel art, these technologies break down barriers, redefine traditional boundaries, and illuminate the world of creativity for everyone, regardless of visual abilities. In this marriage of innovation and accessibility, art becomes a shared experience that transcends limitations and empowers individuals to explore the beauty of the visual arts in ways never thought possible.
Just envision a manufacturing environment where every employee can execute tasks, acquire new skills, and thoroughly explore intricate mechanisms without any risk to their health. What if someone makes a mistake? No problem—simply retry, akin to playing a computer game. How is this possible? In the swiftly evolving realm of technology, the convergence of Industry 4.0 and the VR/AR stack is demonstrating its transformative impact! Understanding Industry 4.0 Industry 4.0 represents a profound shift in the manufacturing landscape, driven by the integration of cutting-edge technologies. It embraces the principles of connectivity, automation, and data exchange to create intelligent systems capable of real-time decision-making. Key components include IoT, which interconnects physical devices, AI, enabling machines to learn and adapt, and data analytics for processing vast amounts of information. In the Industry 4.0 framework, machines communicate seamlessly with each other, forming a networked ecosystem that optimizes processes, reduces waste, and enhances overall efficiency. Enhancing Human-Machine Interaction The incorporation of VR and AR into Industry 4.0 significantly amplifies human-machine interaction. VR immerses users in a computer-generated environment, allowing them to engage with machinery and systems in a simulated but realistic space. AR overlays digital information onto the physical world, providing real-time insights and enhancing the operator’s understanding of the operational environment. These technologies empower workers to control and monitor machinery intuitively, reducing the learning curve and enabling more efficient and safer operations. By fostering a symbiotic relationship between humans and machines, Industry 4.0 with VR/AR integration drives productivity and innovation. Read also: Remote Inspection and Control App Realizing Smart Factories and Processes Smart factories, a cornerstone of Industry 4.0, leverage VR and AR technologies to visualize and optimize manufacturing processes. VR simulations offer a dynamic, 3D representation of the production line, allowing operators to monitor every aspect in real-time. AR, on the other hand, superimposes relevant data onto physical objects, aiding in quality control and process optimization. With the ability to detect anomalies promptly, these technologies contribute to predictive maintenance, reducing downtime and ensuring continuous operation. The result is a more agile and responsive manufacturing ecosystem that adapts to changing demands and maximizes resource utilization. Training and Skill Development In the Industry 4.0 era, workforce skills need to align with the demands of a highly automated and interconnected environment. VR and AR play a pivotal role in this paradigm shift by offering immersive training solutions. Virtual simulations replicate real-world scenarios, enabling workers to practice tasks without the risks associated with live operations. This hands-on, risk-free training accelerates the learning curve, enhances problem-solving skills, and instills confidence in workers. Additionally, VR/AR training can be customized to address specific industry challenges, ensuring that the workforce is equipped to handle diverse and evolving scenarios, contributing to a more versatile and adaptable workforce. The fusion of Industry 4.0 and the VR/AR stack not only revolutionizes manufacturing and industry processes but also reshapes the nature of work and skills required. As we navigate the complexities of the fourth industrial revolution, this symbiotic relationship empowers industries to achieve new levels of efficiency, innovation, and competitiveness. The immersive experiences provided by VR and AR, coupled with the intelligent systems of Industry 4.0, pave the way for a future where human potential is augmented by technology, creating a dynamic and responsive industrial landscape. The transformative impact of this integration extends far beyond the shop floor, influencing the very fabric of how we approach production, training, and problem-solving in the digital age.
The year 2024 stands at the forefront of transformative developments in the realms of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, driven by two technological powerhouses: the Apple Vision Pro and Generative AI. These innovations, each with its distinct capabilities, contribute indispensably to the evolving landscape of digital experiences. Apple Vision Pro: The New Standard In the ever-evolving landscape of Virtual Reality, Apple is poised to make a groundbreaking entrance with its highly anticipated Apple Vision Pro headset. The imminent release of this device is generating considerable excitement, as it is expected to not only elevate the standards of VR but also redefine the way users engage with immersive digital experiences. 1. Setting a New Standard: The Apple Vision Pro is not just another VR headset; it is anticipated to set a new standard in the market. Positioned to outperform competitors such as MagicLeap 2 and Hololens 2, Apple’s foray into VR is characterized by a commitment to excellence and a drive to surpass existing benchmarks. The Vision Pro aims to usher in a new era of VR technology, raising the bar for performance, features, and user experience. 2. Redefining Engagement with VR: The impact of the Apple Vision Pro is not confined to technical specifications alone; it extends to the very essence of how users will engage with VR. Leveraging Apple’s design prowess, this headset aims to provide a more natural, intuitive, and immersive interaction with virtual environments. From the moment users put on the headset, they are likely to experience a seamless blend of technology and design that enhances the overall VR experience. 3. Riding the Wave of Innovation: Apple’s entry into the VR landscape signifies a broader trend of innovation within the technology industry. As the Vision Pro prepares to make its debut, it symbolizes the culmination of years of research, development, and a dedication to reimagining how we interact with digital content. The headset is poised to ride the wave of technological innovation, bringing forth a product that not only meets but exceeds user expectations. With a commitment to setting new standards, leveraging design expertise, and offering superior features and performance, this highly anticipated headset is poised to leave an indelible mark on the VR landscape. Read more: https://www.qualium-systems.com/blog/ar-vr/visionpro-on-the-horizon-why-mr-app-development-doesnt-sleep/ Generative AI As we step into 2024, the horizon for Generative AI appears even more promising, building on the foundations laid in 2023. This transformative technology, capable of creating content autonomously, is poised to revolutionize various facets of our digital experiences. 1. Creating Immersive Digital Realities Generative AI’s prowess extends beyond its initial applications. In 2024, we anticipate an accelerated ability to create entire digital worlds and environments with unprecedented realism. From sprawling landscapes to intricate cityscapes, Generative AI is set to become a cornerstone in the construction of immersive digital realms. 2. Realistic Character Generation One of the standout features of Generative AI lies in its capacity to craft lifelike characters. In the coming year, we can expect significant advancements in generating realistic avatars, NPCs (Non-Player Characters), and entities within virtual spaces. This evolution will contribute to more engaging and authentic virtual experiences, blurring the lines between the real and the artificial. 3. Efficiency in 3D Environment Creation Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of expediting the creation of 3D environments through Generative AI reflects a broader trend. In 2024, the technology is likely to streamline and enhance the efficiency of 3D design processes. This not only reduces the time and resources required for content creation but also empowers creators to bring their visions to life more rapidly. 4. Customizable and Diverse Content Generative AI’s adaptability will play a pivotal role in diversifying content creation. Expect a surge in customizable elements within digital environments, allowing for a more personalized and dynamic user experience. This could range from dynamically generated landscapes in virtual worlds to tailored character appearances, enriching the variety and uniqueness of digital spaces. 5. Collaboration with Other Technologies In 2024, Generative AI is likely to intertwine with other emerging technologies, amplifying its impact. Collaborations with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) devices may lead to the seamless integration of AI-generated content into our physical surroundings, further blurring the boundaries between the virtual and the real. 6. Ethical Considerations and Safeguards As Generative AI becomes more ingrained in content creation, ethical considerations will come to the forefront. The year 2024 will see heightened discussions about responsible AI use, potential biases in generated content, and the need for robust safeguards. Striking a balance between innovation and ethical deployment will be imperative for the sustainable development of Generative AI. As the year unfolds, expect Generative AI to not only contribute to the evolution of virtual realities but also spark crucial conversations about the ethical dimensions of AI-driven content creation. The Crucial Synergy: Transforming Augmented Experiences The confluence of the Apple Vision Pro and Generative AI in 2024 marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of AR and VR technologies. Apple’s commitment to setting new standards and Generative AI’s capacity to create immersive digital realities form a synergy that promises to redefine how we live, work, and interact in the digital age. While the Vision Pro enhances the hardware and user experience, Generative AI contributes to the content creation process, ensuring a more diverse and personalized digital landscape. As the immersive experiences of 2024 unfold, the Apple Vision Pro and Generative AI stand as testaments to the industry’s commitment to innovation, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the digital realm. Together, they create a narrative of transformative advancements that will shape the way we perceive and engage with digital realities in the years to come.