How VR Happens by Jivom Sharavanah

So how does VR happen?

Many things are involved with VR. First off, measurements need to be taken of six vital things in order for the screens you see to look real.

Image resolution, the number of pixels in an image, and field of view, the amount of the image you can see, need to be decided. Then the refresh rate, the rate in hertz at which the screen refreshes, and motion delays need to be calculated. Not to mention that pixel persistence, the amount of time the display is lit rather than dark per frame, has to be taken account of and audio/video synchronization, connecting the audio to the video, should be sorted out.

A VR headset has a setup of two screens, one for each eye. By looking through two lenses (screens), it gives users a sense of depth, stereoscopic display, explained in the VR development section above.

The VR headset contains motion sensors to detect the user’s motion by measuring positions and angles. For example, if the user turns to the left, then he or she may see a store. But if the user turns to the right, then he or she may see a library. The images are in place the whole time. The user is just changing his or her perspective relative to space.

Some VR headsets have an infrared controller which monitors the direction of your eyes inside a virtual environment. With this, users receive an even deeper and realistic field of view. VR headsets also include auditory technology, like the Frights Nightmare Roller Coaster, to stimulate your other senses. From there, other VR technology can impact your sense of smell, touch, and taste.

VR is a very STEM influenced technology, and you can try your hand at VR here at ACL. To learn more about how VR works in depth, click the source and watch a cool interactive video that covers the facts.

Hey Kiddo – a tale of Addiction and Awareness

Hey Kiddo – a tale of addiction and awareness

This year’s 1B1C choice by Loudoun County Public Library was unique in many ways. Hey Kiddo: How I Lost my Mother, Found my Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction by Jarrett J. Krosoczka is a graphic memoir, two mediums that usually don’t coincide, depicting the difficulties Jarrett experienced growing up with his less than traditional family dynamics. Despite his trials, Jarrett triumphs – you may recognize his name from the Jedi Academies, the Lunch Ladies series, and a multitude of picture books of which he is the author/illustrator. With 21 new VERSO standards for our MATA health and medical science students addressing the opioid crisis and science of addiction, books like Hey Kiddo are timely and necessary.

The Academies of Loudoun, among many of the local high schools, was a recipient of 100 copies of the book to distribute among students and staff. As limited copies were available this year (the cost of the book was more than years past due to its full color), all were encouraged to pay it forward when they were done reading. Due to its popularity, we set 25 copies aside as a class set; Lt. Henry’s EMT class was the first to read it together and come up with promotional materials. Below are a few of her students’ creations:

Click here to listen to a podcast created by student Nadina Erkin.

Healthy Hydration Event

The Academies PTSA is one of only a handful of schools nationwide to be awarded a $1000 grant to bring awareness to students and the community about Healthy Lifestyles, and in particular Healthy Hydration.  We will be celebrating this event with an awareness campaign about choosing water for hydration over other sugary drinks.  There will be activity centers and free giveaways!  Please join us at the Academies on November 21st and 22nd during lunchtime in the Dining Commons!

A Look Into VR Development by Jivom Sharavanah

It all began in 1838, when Sir Charles Wheatstone coined the term “stereopsis,”  the perception of depth produced by the reception in the brain of visual stimuli from both eyes. In his research of building a stereoscope, he showed that the brain conjoined two photographs of the same object taken from different points to make the image 3D.

In 1965, Ivan Sutherland publized the “Ultimate Display,” a concept of a virtual world through HMD where users could interact with objects. This was considered “the fundamental blueprint for VR.” Three years later, he and his student Bob Sproull created the first virtual reality HMD named “The Sword of Damocles.” Whenever the user moved his or her head, the perspective changed with them using the head-tracking system first developed in 1962 by Morton Heilig.

In 1969, Myron Krueger developed a series of “artificial reality” experiences, computer-generated environments responding to the users, leading to VIDEO PLACE technology. Krueger’s VIDEO PLACE gave users in other dark rooms, where large screens were set up, the ability to communicate with other users in the same virtual world. Between 1986 and 1989, the Super Cockpit, a flight simulator with 3D maps, advanced imagery, and a tracking system and sensors, was created by Furness. This allowed the pilot to drive the aircraft with gestures, utilizing gesture recognition introduced in 1982, and voice commands.

In 1989, Scott Foster’s company, _________, developed real-time binaural 3D audio processing for NASA’s astronaut program. Then two years later, Antonio Medina designed a VR system to drive the Mars robot rovers from Earth in as real-time the distance between the planets allowed.

Finally, in 2015, VR became available to the public. Since then, VR was being innovated by numerous companies. A majority of these headsets involved dynamic binaural audio, undermining haptic interfaces, systems that allowed users to interact with a computer using their touch and movements. Due to this, handsets were almost always operated with buttons.

VR has gone through a lot of changes, and more changes and innovations lie in its future as well. To learn more and in depth about VR’s history, use the source

The VR Experience by Saanvi Gutta – Part 2

We’ve all heard of virtual reality, otherwise known as VR. VR for sick students to continue school, medical students to experience surgery and examination beforehand, airplane simulators for trainees, and just the appeal of it for fun. It’s so advanced, being one of the technologies that mark our tech age today. VR- it sounds futuristic and so advanced, but an opportunity you may not experience. However, that isn’t the case. The Academies of Loudoun now offers students an opportunity to use these VR headsets, and like every opportunity, it’s important to take it. It’s unique to ACL, and it’s a fun thing you can try for just about five minutes of your time.

To be honest, when the Frights Nightmare Roller Coaster began, I was so overwhelmed I crumpled to the floor. I had been standing initially, and standing on a roller coaster (which you never want to do) made me feel vulnerable and panicked (hence the panic cited in the glimpse section). I went from standing by the windows near the library to the top of a roller coaster that seemed very, very real. My stomach just dropped, and I had nothing to hold on to. Anxiety, fear, surprise, you name it. All at once. Of course, after I got used to the sensation overload, I was able to enjoy the simulation a little easier and standing up. As a forewarning, some others who tried the roller coaster felt dizzy afterwards.

The simulation was truly an experience. After I took the headset off, I was so excited. I’ve heard of the impact VR can bring to this world, but it was more personal when I tried it. All at once I realized the potential of this little yet incredible thing, and all the future possibilities in using these VRs in science, medicine, and education. I felt its future impact, rather than just know of it. And I recommend coming to the library and asking one of our wonderful librarians to try on a headset during your lunch period. 

A Glimpse Into Another Reality by Saanvi Gutta – Part 1

At first, all I see is a deep orange sky radiating into my vision, outlining the black precipice-like mountains before me. Woah. A red roller coaster track lies before me, looping up into the mountains, which are towering dauntingly above me. The little car I’m sitting in is shaped like a dull-colored coffin, with a cross embedded at the front. It seems old and rusty, with white seats stained from age. Suddenly, with a jerk, the cart began to move.

Immediately, I’m taken up, climbing the tall slope of the track into the mountains. Blue fog covers the tracks, rising up with eerie notice. My stomach still drops, and I find something to hold onto in sheer panic. Slowly, I reach the top of the incline, out of the fog, and I glance down at the impending drop into a swirl of twists and turns in the pitch black mountains. My heart leaps into my throat with anticipation.

And then I’m falling, twisting to the left, then to the right. And after a few seconds of getting accustomed, I begin to enjoy myself. Black skeleton ghouls jump before me as I travel along the track’s hills and turns, and ghostly white apparitions fly across the track as I pass by. Blackened crosses stick from the ground, and scraggly leafless dark trees stand out against the horizon. At times, I pass slowly through graveyards covered in the blue fog, strange noises drifting through my ears.

At last, the roller coaster begins to slow, the blue fog rising again as I pass through a set of half-opened gates. A ghoul waits for me at the end, and _______ ______(no spoilers)______ ____________. The screen goes black, and a menu pops up. Jittery from the excitement and nerves, I pull off my virtual reality simulation headset.


Board games are more than just fun to play!

By Jivom Sharavanah


Playing Board games have many benefits for all people. A simple board game can activate survival genes in your brain, making the brain cells live longer and helping to fight disease.  Board games help children develop logic and reasoning skills, improve critical thinking and boost spatial reasoning. These board games will help students in the long run.


Dr. Rivets returns!

RoboLoCo competed in their first off-season event for this season the IROC – Ilite Robotics Off-Season Challenge. The team hosted two new drive teams – and their performances were outstanding. Despite some battery challenges and a brownout, the team advanced to the Quarterfinals and had lots of fun!

Academies of Loudoun’s First House Build Project

Academies of Loudoun Principal Tinell Priddy thanks the various collaborators whose contributions made the new construction project possible. Photo by Times-Mirro/John Ballston.

LCPS students have collaborated with licensed contractors before to build houses, but this will be the first project at the Academies.  The house will incorporate sustainable design and will comprise 2,400 square feet. The house will be built by the students and then sold at market value with the profits going into the next project. This house project is expected to take three to four years to be completed.

LCPS Superintendent Eric Williams stated, “Our mission as a school division is empowering all students to make meaningful contributions to the world. Well clearly building a house that will be used for decades to come is a meaningful contribution.”

Architectural design of the house.