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Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality

This guide provides an introduction to the Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality services provided by McGill Library, as well as other resources to help explore the technology.

About HTC Vive

Equipment: One headset, two controllers

How to use Vive

  1. Log in to the computer in RM-22A with your McGill username and password.
  2. Apps for the HTC VIVE are all on the desktop. Double click to launch.
    • If apps do not appear on the desktop, open either Steam or VivePort and available apps will appear in the Library tab.
    • Not sure which app to try? Check out our recommendations below.
    • Plug your own headphones into the jack on the back of the headset for sound.
  3. If you need further assistance find a Research Commons staff member (who are usually seated next to the 3D printers).
  4. Enjoy!

If you have any questions, please ask the staff member on duty.

Recommended resources

All of the following are ready and available to use with the HTC Vive:


  • Terracotta Warriors - Go back over 2000 years and interact with China’s Terracotta Army.
  • Great Pyramid - Explore the Great Pyramid in Giza, Egypt. View the pyramid from different perspectives and investigate the 3D interior.
  • Stonehenge - Travel to the world famous prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England. Includes narrated voice overs and the ability to build, paint and create your own ancient monument.


  • Symmetry - A tool for professionals in architecture, engineering, and construction.
  • Concrete and Steel - A 3D sandbox to build structures using a range of objects and materials.
  • Home Architect - Design floor plans in 3D, create and customize the architecture of your dream house down to the very last detail with this complete tool.


  • Tiltbrush - Paint in space with three-dimensional brush strokes, stars, light, and even fire.
  • Eye of the Owl - Go back in time to Hieronymus Bosch’s studio and explore his masterpiece, The Garden of Earthly Delights, in ultra-high resolution while the artist himself describes the scenes.
  • Acute Art VR Museum - Offers exclusive access to original virtual reality works by leading and emerging contemporary artists.
  • Artifice - Wander into your favorite piece of art. Enter the artist's mind. Or change their mind. And modify the painting. Hike around in a VR world of brush strokes and unseen light, mixed with Mondrian’s cubes of color and Magritte's apple tinged surrealism.
  • The Museum of ThroughView - A VR museum that lets you view 3D conversions  of famous paintings and old photographs.
  • VR Museum of Fine Art - Explore a virtual museum: see famous sculptures in full, 1:1 scale and see famous paintings without the limitations of glass and security guards.
  • Blocks - Easily create 3D objects in VR, no matter your modelling experience.
  • Sketchfab VR - Discover a showcase of explorations through remote places, fantastic creatures, game worlds, cultural heritage, science and other wonders.
  • PaintLab - Paint or sculpt your own 3D creations and play around with them.
  • The Night Cafe - Explore the world of Vincent van Gogh first-hand. Take a moment to enjoy his iconic sunflowers in 3D or walk around the chair he painted in his bedroom to see it from another angle.


  • Engage - A new education and presentation platform that seeks to transform how people share ideas and teach lessons to each other globally by harnessing the power of VR.
  • Lifeliqe - Learn about a cell, join ancient dinosaurs for a walk, or visit a prehistoric settlement that dates back to the seventh millennium B.C. in interactive learning experiences.



  • Time Machine - Explore the Jurassic era and the creatures that once ruled the prehistoric oceans. Use an array of advanced tech tools to track, examine, and discover the scientific secrets of mosasaurs, livyatans, and megalodons, among others!


  • Emergence Fractal Multiverse - Learn about Fractals and adjust parameters to see the how fractals work. Enjoy the psychedelic shapes that mathematics has to offer.

Medicine & Anatomy

  • The Physiology of the Eye - An educational VR experience that teaches you about the anatomical structures and physiology of the eye. As you work your way through each of the chapters you will be quizzed and given a GPA at the end.
  • The Body - Go inside the human body! Travel through the bloodstream and discover how blood cells work to spread oxygen throughout the body. Enter one of the billions of living cells inside our body and learn how the organelles work together to fight deadly viruses.
  • 3D Organon - A VR anatomy atlas. Learn human anatomy with over 4,000 realistic anatomical models/structures sided with quality text descriptions per body structure.
  • YOU - Explore an anatomically accurate 3D model of the human body, its organs, and their natural function. Visualize how your body works. Explore organs and systems in a fully immersive 3D environment.


  • Google Earth - Explore the world from totally new perspectives in virtual reality. Stroll the streets of Tokyo, soar over the Grand Canyon, or walk around the Eiffel Tower.
  • Realities - Travel to mesmerizing real world places and discover their stories!


  • Lyra - Compose in 3D and interact with fantastical music sequences from entirely new perspectives in virtual reality.
  • Audio Factory - Showcases spatial audio capabilities of the Resonance Audio SDK by Google. Explore each floor to experience how spatial audio contributes to the VR immersion.
  • Sonaria - Sonaria follows two ever-changing creatures as they flow from one life-form to another on a vivid journey of sound and light. Sonaria’s visual language is simple and abstract, designed to suggest, while the sonic language is layered and immersive, designed to answer.
  • Fractasia - Explore the virtual reality worlds of Julius Horsthius through an incredible journey of sight and sound. Explore surreal caverns of fractally generated crystals, glide through alien megastructures and relax as mountains of rock glide slowly by, all set to the amazing music of some of the world's best digital composers.


  • Chroma Lab - Chroma Lab is a VR particle physics sandbox. Surround yourself with hundreds of thousands of colorful particles that stick together like a fluid which you can interact with using a variety of tools.
  • 4DToys - A box of toys from the fourth dimension.


  • Mars 2030 - Suit up for the first manned mission to Mars! MARS 2030 is a virtual reality simulation that gives players the opportunity to explore the mysterious red planet like never before.
  • Spacetours - Travel to the eight planets of the Solar System. Features stunning visuals, bold sound effects, support of motion-controllers and level streaming with no loading screens for total immersion.
  • Home - Enables would-be astronauts to embark on a spacewalk 250 miles above the Earth’s surface, something only 217 people have ever done for real. (from the BBC)
  • Apollo 11 - A recreation of the greatest journey ever taken by humankind, of the events which took place between July 16th and July 24th 1969. Experience this historic event through the eyes of those who lived through it.


  • Discovery VR - Exclusive content from shows like Shark Week, Deadliest Catch and MythBusters. Rescue rhinos, swim with elephants and bask in the beauty of majestic tigers. From Samurai sword fights in Japan to dancing in the pubs of Dublin, come with us to explore the globe.
  • Within - Exclusive content from shows like Shark Week, Deadliest Catch and MythBusters. Rescue rhinos, swim with elephants and bask in the beauty of majestic tigers. From Samurai sword fights in Japan to dancing in the pubs of Dublin, come with us to explore the globe.
  • theBlu: Whale Encounter - Transports audiences deep under the ocean, onto the deck of a sunken ship and face to face with the largest species on Earth, an encounter which creates a sense of uncanny scale and unexpected empathy.
  • Stanford Ocean Acidification Experience - A virtual underwater ecosystem to allow you to observe first-hand what coral reefs are expected to look like by the end of the century if we do not curb our CO2 emissions.

If there’s an app you’d like to use that’s not on this list, email with your request.

Liaison Librarian

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David Greene
Humanities & Social Sciences Library

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